No. 108: Turkey Meatballs & Tomatoes Over Polenta

Tuesday night we both wanted warm, savory, comfort food. To me, polenta is the ultimate base for such a dish.

With some standard ingredients in my pantry and a bit of cornmeal, I whipped up a (somewhat) gourmet meal for us.

Turkey Meatballs & Tomatoes Over Polenta

This is a McCormick original, but inspiration and cooking temp/time came from Smitten Kitchen and Joy the Baker.


Meatballs: Makes about 24
1/3 cup milk
2/3 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Sauce & Polenta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (15 ounces) petite diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Place racks in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a nonstick pan, heat oil and then add onion and garlic. Cook until just softened and browned, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients. Mix with hands to combine.


Prepare a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Shape together golf-ball sized meatballs. Use your hands to best shape the meatballs.


Bake meatballs for 25 minutes, or until bubbling and cooked through.

While meatballs cook, combine oil, shallots and garlic in the original pan used to soften the onions. This will help with your dishes load later. Cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper and oregano and simmer sauce on very low heat.


About 10 minutes before meatballs are done, start your polenta. In a medium sauce pan, heat chicken stock to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low and very slowly whisk in cornmeal.


Whisk constantly and cook until mixture thickens to a soft mush, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve meal in shallow bowls with a scoop of polenta topped with the tomato sauce and several meatballs.

The results

This hit the spot. Just a big bowl of tasty goodness.


It took about an hour to get it all together starting from square one, but you could easily make these meatballs and freeze them for later use.

Another bright spot of this recipe for two people is that we have plenty of meatballs for leftovers this week. Here's what we're taking to work for lunch tomorrow.


Happy Hump Day!

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Amelia McCormick

Kansas girl transplanted to Asheville, North Carolina. Smiler, lover of great food and wine, facilitator, runner, storyteller, wife, optimist, and mother of sweet twins:)

Asheville, North Carolina