Rush Hour Gourmet

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Smoked paprika sparks turkey meatballs.

The nostalgic satisfaction of meat loaf eludes many of us during the busy workweek because the soul-soothing comfort food takes so long to bake.

But what about meatballs instead? This version gets a Spanish flair from smoked paprika, which provides great depth of flavor. The meatballs are simmered in a little red wine and tomato sauce; choose an inexpensive Rioja to cook with to keep the theme going.

Smoked Paprika Turkey Meatballs

Makes 4 servings

1 pound ground dark turkey meat

1 egg

1/4 red onion, chopped very fine

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs (see note)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sweet or spicy smoked Spanish paprika (see note)

6 sprigs parsley, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce

1 cup dry red wine

1. Lightly mix the turkey, egg, onion, bread crumbs, salt, paprika and parsley together in a medium bowl; form the mixture into 2-inch balls.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add the meatballs. Cook, turning, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes.

3. Add the tomato sauce and wine to the skillet; lower heat to a simmer.

4. Cook, turning the meatballs in the sauce occasionally and spooning the liquid over the meatballs, until meatballs are cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.

Note: Buy smoked Spanish paprika in spice stores and some supermarkets, or substitute regular paprika. Also, grind your own crumbs from bread that has gone stale. Simply process in a food processor until fine; save any extra in the freezer.

Per serving: 295 calories, 26 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams fat, 135 milligrams cholesterol, 1,002 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber