Is your house Party Central for your family celebrations, or the place where your friends gather to watch football/basketball/hockey playoffs or cheer on your alma mater in a college bowl? If your house is the place to be, these Tex-Mex turkey meatball sliders should be there, too. They're tasty and easy, and can be made far ahead of when you need them. Everyone loves meatballs, and these sliders are no more than that -- giant meatballs packed with your favorite Tex-Mex seasonings (and with sour cream inside). Even with a little bit of cayenne pepper, these are not spicy. However, they are a little bit messy, as the mashed avocado tends to squirt out with the first bite, so be sure to have plenty of napkins on hand.
By the way, I'm in love with the spice pastes I can buy in my supermarket's produce aisle these days. In recipes like this one, it's so much nicer to use a spice paste that blends easily with the meat than to take a bite out of a meatball and chomp down on a piece of raw garlic. Although they don't have a long shelf life, spice pastes are one convenience food I always have in my pantry refrigerator. If you can't find them, use the equivalent amount of fresh, finely minced garlic and cilantro.
Tex-Mex turkey meatball sliders with avocado and cheese
From the pantry, you'll need: ground turkey, dry bread crumbs, sour cream, egg, ground cumin, chili powder, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, fresh black pepper, grated cheese.
Serves 4 (two sliders per person).
1 lb ground turkey (I use 93% lean)
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp cilantro paste
1/4 tsp garlic paste
4 slider buns
1/2 cup grated cheese (I use 4-cheese Mexican blend), or a couple of slices of Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1 avocado, mashed with a pinch of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine turkey, bread crumbs, sour cream, egg, cumin, chili powder, seasoned salt, cayenne, black pepper, cilantro and garlic pastes. Use your finger tips to bring everything together in an even mixture.
Test a sample: heat a drop of neutral oil (canola, peanut, grapeseed, etc.) in a small frying pan. Cook a tablespoon of the meat mixture, until it is no longer pink. Taste, and adjust seasoning if needed with more salt.
Divide the meat into 8 even parts, and form each into a large meatball. Place all of the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 22 minutes in the upper third of the oven. If you're going to serve right away, top each meatball with a bit of grated cheese, and return the pan to the oven for 1 minute, until the cheese melts. To make ahead, let the meatballs cool, and freeze in a zip lock bag.
If you've frozen the meatballs, defrost, then top the defrosted meatballs with cheese and microwave for 30 seconds (don't defrost in the microwave, or the meatballs will overcook).
Cut each bun in half, and spread the bottom half with some of the mashed avocado. Top with a meatball, and serve.
More meatballs for sliders:
Turkey pesto meatball sliders, from The Perfect Pantry
BLT turkey meatballs, from The Perfect Pantry
Mini meatball sandwiches, from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
BBQ meatball sliders, from $5 Dinners
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