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Vietnamese Turkey Meatballs in Broth with Red Onion and Herbs

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Meatballs can be heavy and bland, but not when they are made with bright Southeast Asian flavors, as in this recipe, and handled with a light touch.


For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb. (500 g) ground turkey
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. Asian fish sauce
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • Grated zest of 1 lime

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2-inch (5-cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, center white part only, smashed and thinly
  • 6 cups (48 fl. oz./1.5 l) chicken broth
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh mint


To make the meatballs, preheat an oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Oil a baking sheet.

In a bowl, combine the ground turkey, shallot, garlic, fish sauce, cilantro, salt, pepper and lime zest. Using your hands, mix gently but thoroughly. For each meatball, scoop up a heaping 1 tsp. of the mixture, form into a meatball and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the meatballs are cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.

In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the ginger and lemongrass and cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes. Add the broth and lime juice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Add the meatballs, red onion, cilantro and mint and simmer for 5 minutes more. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Soup of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2011).