Meatball Appetizers with Sweet Potatoes

Meatball Appetizers with Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Since my husband Lulu was out of town last weekend, I had a few girlfriends over to celebrate the Lunar New Year (a week late!). Next week, we're all going to a Vietnamese charity concert and everyone was talking about how they'd fit into their áo dài, the traditional Vietnamese outfit. I've been back to the gym regularly to do squats and get a solid workout and I just made sure the food would please my weight-conscious crowd.

The menu I served wasn't fussy at all and I tried to satisfy everyone's diet: we started with easy, delicious, look-and-feel-your-best meatballs. I also made cháo đồ biển (seafood rice soup with seabass, shrimp, squid and scallops), along with a kale salad. 

What was in the meatballs, you ask? I created a ground mixture of veal, turkey, flax seeds and quinoa and served with spicy sweet potatoes.

Ingredients

Yields: 26 meatballs

1 pound ground turkey and veal (1 to 1)
1 cup cooked quinoa
2 tablespoons flax seeds, freshly ground
1½ teaspoons raw sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ red onion, chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1¼ teaspoons salt
½ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 sweet potatoes
2 teaspoons dark molasses
2 teaspoons mild honey
juice of half a lime
¼ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
¼ cup Brazil nuts, coarsely chopped
½ cup store-bought roasted chestnuts, coarsely crumbled

Directions

Roasting the sweet potatoes:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. 

Peel and wash the sweet potatoes. Cut into cubes, then place in a small pot. Fill with cold water, Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium high. Cook for about 20 minutes. Drain and let them cool.

Place them on an oiled baking sheet. In a bowl, mix 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons juice and 2 teaspoons molasses. Drizzle with the oil/molasses mixture. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes until golden. Set aside.

Prepping the meat:

Pulse the veal, turkey and ¼ cup parsley in a food processor until coarsely blended. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the quinoa, flax seeds, ginger, 1 clove garlic, onions and coriander powder. Mix well.

Combine the egg, raw sugar, black pepper and salt. Beat the egg with a fork.

Add the egg mixture and the remaining parsley to the ground meat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. 

Checking the seasoning: In a small pan, heat about 1 teaspoon of canola oil. Add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture. Cook for about 2 minutes. Taste the meat. Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if necessary.


Cooking the meatballs:

Grease disposable gloves with oil. Roll the mixture into 24 balls and place them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with vegetable oil.

Bake at 400°F for 20-22 minutes until cooked through.

For the sweet potato sauce:

Reserve 24 roasted sweet potato cubes for garnish.

In a mini-food processor or mini-blender, combine the remaining garlic, honey, cayenne pepper (if using), lime juice, the Brazil nuts and ¼ cup roasted chestnuts.  First add a drizzle of water for a smoother flow, pulse and slowly add olive oil until it becomes a coarsely-blended paste.  Transfer to a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Assembly:

Insert a party pick with a roasted sweet potato cube into each meatball. PLace the spicy sauce in the center of a serving platter, arranging the meatballs around it. Garnish with the reserved Brazil nuts and chestnuts as a reminder of the flavor in the sauce. Decorate with a parsley leaf.

Bon appétit!


Tips

Check out my veggie meatball version.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on March 3, 2015.


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