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Turkey Meatballs Photograph by Lauri Patterson — Getty Images/iStockphoto

This is IBM Watson’s Favorite Turkey Recipe

Nov 25, 2015

IBM's powerful Watson computer has wide-reaching interests, from health care to Jeopardy! to artificial intelligence. It also turns out that Watson has a knack for coming up with great recipes.

For the past few years, IBM has fed Watson thousands of recipes and set the supercomputer to study food pairing theories to develop its culinary expertise. Earlier this year IBM, along with food magazine Bon Appetit, launched Chef Watson publicly. The website uses the technology's cognitive systems, which are capable of understanding vast amounts of data, to develop unique recipes. Watson also co-authored a cookbook.

In honor of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, Fortune reached out to IBM to find out Watson's perfect turkey recipe. What came back wasn't exactly a Thanksgiving classic: meatballs.

When asked if Watson had a preferred roast turkey recipe, an IBM spokeswoman said such a simple dish is "a little less typical of the types of recipes Chef Watson will generate."

Here is Chef Watson's recommended, all-new turkey recipe just in time for your Thanksgiving holiday.

Turkey Meatballs with Tomato-Hard Cider Sauce

Tomato-Hard Cider Sauce
Makes sauce for 18 meatballs
5 slices bacon (about 4 oz), finely diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 medium onion (about 6 oz), peeled and diced

14 oz canned chopped tomatoes

Salt, to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

1 tsp lemon zest

Minced leaves from 2 sprigs oregano

14 fl. oz hard cider

1 tbsp sugar


In a pan over medium heat, sauté the bacon until brown. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the canned tomatoes, then season with salt and pepper, and add the lemon zest and oregano. Bring to a boil. Mix in the hard cider and sugar, adjust the seasoning, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Coarsely blend the sauce using a hand blender, and reserve.

Turkey Meatballs
Makes 18 meatballs
1 lb ground turkey

1 egg, beaten

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

2 oz white mushrooms, finely diced

2 oz kale, finely diced

2 oz Swiss cheese, finely diced

0.5 oz panko breadcrumbs

2 oz hard cider

Leaves from 2 sprigs oregano, chopped
½ tsp ground cumin

Salt, to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the oven to 500 F. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Make sure the mixture is generously seasoned. Scoop out the turkey mixture with a spoon, and form into balls (you should have about 18). Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing at least 1” apart. Cook the meatballs in the oven for 12-14 minutes. Add the meatballs to the tomato- hard cider sauce, and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.

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