When I was at Type A a little over a week ago (wow, has it really been that long already?), the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission. I was excited because I love sweet potatoes. I’m not a fan of the overly sweet marshmallow topped confection that people try to pass off as a side dish at Thanksgiving, but sweet potatoes in a more subtle form are one of my favorite things. I make sweet potato fries and chips all the time, and the wee ones love them.
The NC Sweet Potato Commission brought two items for us to try, and I fell in love with the sweet potato turkey meatballs (their original recipe). I know it sounds a bit odd, but they were beyond good. They were by far the best food I had onsite, and I couldn’t wait to make them at home… and doctor them a little, of course.
Sweet Potato Turkey Meatballs
1 lb sweet potato, baked
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 c red onion, diced
1 t salt
1/2 t cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 T dried parsley or 1/4 c fresh
2 cloves garlic, minced
Roast your sweet potato, and this is something you can do a couple days ahead of time if you like. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and pierce your sweet potato a few times with a fork. Bake it at 400 for 45 minutes, then let cool.
While this is baking, toast your cumin seeds in a small pan over medium heat, shaking the pan every few minutes. Once they’ve toasted, use a spice grinder or mortal and pestle to grind them into cumin powder. The toasting makes them taste so much better. You can also use this time to dice the onion and mince the garlic so they’re ready, too. If you’re using fresh parsley, roll the leaves then cut along the roll to easily chiffonade them.
Cut the sweet potato in half and scoop out the baked insides with a spoon. Mash them well in a separate bowl with a large fork. Once they’ve lost all their chunks, add the turkey, onion, salt, cumin, parsley, and garlic. Gently mix together the mixture with your hands until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
Preheat your oven (again) to 400 degrees. Prepare a jelly roll pan lined with a sil pat or parchment paper. Roll the meat mixture into golf ball size meatballs and place them on the jelly roll pan. Brush them lightly with olive oil, then bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes until the tops are golden and the insides are fully cooked.
These are awesome just on their own, served with some greens or corn or whatever other summer accouterments you have on hand. They would also be great in a pasta with marinara, but I’m not cooking pasta in summer. In fact, shhhh I actually roasted my sweet potato and cooked the meatballs on my grill so that I wouldn’t have to turn on my oven in the heat. It totally works.