Turkey Meatball Pocket Subs with Side Salad
- 3 slices stale whole wheat bread sandwich bread or crusty bread, whatever you have on hand
- 1/2-2/3 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for drizzling
- 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 garlic cloves, 1 crushed, 2 finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, peeled
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
- 1 pound ground turkey breast
- A handful of flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 1/4-1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a generous handful)
- 2 large whole wheat pita pockets
- 1 small head red or green leaf lettuce, leaves torn from core and thoroughly washed, then chopped
- 1/2 English (seedless) cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced into half moons
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup basil leaves (a generous handful), chopped
- 4 thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese, cut in half
- Pre-heat oven or toaster oven to 300ºF to warm the pita.
- Chop or tear the stale bread into pieces and place in a bowl. Pour over enough milk to just barely cover, toss around in the milk and let sit and soak up the milk.
- Place a high-sided skillet over medium heat with two turns of the pan of EVOO, about two tablespoons. Once the EVOO is hot, grate three-quarters of the onion into the pot, add the crushed garlic, grate and add the carrot. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper, then cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes or until the onions are tender. Stir in the chicken stock and the crushed tomatoes and bring sauce up to a bubble and simmer while you make the meatball mixture.
- In a mixing bowl combine the ground turkey, the remaining quarter onion, grated, parsley, remaining chopped garlic, grated cheese, salt and pepper. Squeeze out the excess milk from the bread and add to the meat mixture. Mix until just combined.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of the bowl, then score the meat into four equal portions by making an X on the top of the meat with the side of your hand. Form each section into three meatballs, dropping the meatballs into the bubbling sauce as you form them. Shake and shimmy the meatballs into the sauce, then cover the skillet with a lid or a piece of foil. Simmer, covered, for five minutes, then uncovered for another five minutes or until the meatballs feel firm and cooked through.
- While the meatballs are cooking away in the sauce, warm up the pitas in a warm oven or toaster oven. Cut each one in half and expose the pocket part.
- In a salad bowl combine the lettuce, sliced cucumber and scallions. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the greens and give it a good drizzle of EVOO, then season with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper and toss to combine.
- Add the basil to the sauce and stir to combine, being careful not to break up the meatballs. Place two half moons of mozzarella cheese inside each of the pita pockets and then top that with three meatballs. Serve the pita subs alongside the salad.