These baked turkey meatballs are decidedly more "Thanksgiving-style" than "Italian-style", seasoned with thyme and sage and smothered with gravy. Use dark ground turkey meat for superior flavor and tenderness.
Start the gravy. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small sauce pot over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and toss to coat in the fat. Sautee, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Add broth, a tablespoon at a time, as needed to keep the onions moist and to prevent scalding.
Heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with olive oil spray or rub with 1 tsp olive oil.
Place the ground turkey, minced onion and celery, egg, breadcrumbs, and all seasonings into a large mixing bowl. Wash your hands, then rub half a tablespoon of olive oil onto your hands. Using your oil hands, mix until all ingredients are thoroughly distributed, but do not overmix.
Form heaping 1 tablespoon portions of the mix into meatballs and place onto the baking sheet, leaving space between each. Apply more olive oil to your hands as needed to prevent sticking and to give each meatball a thin coating of oil.
Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake 15-18 minuter, or until the meatballs are golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165°F using an instant read thermometer.
Finish the gravy. Add the smashed garlic clove, 1 cup chicken broth, and fresh thyme to the onions. Simmer an additional 10 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and the thyme leaves are falling off the stems.
Pour the gravy ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add the cold butter and heavy cream, and blend one final time. Taste for seasoning and add pepper and additional salt (if needed).
Serve the meatballs warm, smothered with sweet onion gravy. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in a tightly sealed container for up to 4 days. See notes for freezing instructions.
Store and Freeze Leftovers
In the Fridge: store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.
To Freeze: place the cooked meatballs onto a baking sheet, leaving a little space between each. Place the entire baking sheet into the freezer and freeze until the meatballs are solid (about an hour or two). Place the individually frozen meatballs into a gallon sized freezer bag, press out the air, seal, and stash! Frozen turkey meatballs keep up to 2 months in an air-tight bag.
To Reheat from Frozen: (1) place a serving of meatballs into a microwave safe bowl, cover with a plate, then heat for 90 seconds; (2) to defrost a whole batch, transfer the storage bag to the fridge over night to thaw and gently reheat on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.