Protein can be found in eggs, cheese and legumes but, meat is the most complete source of protein. In this recipe, we used ground chicken breast. A meat packed with nutrients such as B vitamins. We paired it with sweet potatoes, a side dish traditionally prepared during the Thanksgiving holiday. But they are some of the most nutritious vegetables around so why not enjoy them year round?
• 2 slices whole wheat bread, torn into small pieces
• ¼ cup milk
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon pepper
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 1 lb ground chicken
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided*
• 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
• 8 cups chicken stock
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 red bell pepper (or a combination of red, green and yellow)
• 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 to 4)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Soak bread in milk for about 5 minutes.
2. Heat olive oil and add the onion, garlic and salt and pepper and cook until the onion has softened. Remove the onion and garlic to a mixing bowl and allow to cool.
3. Squeeze the bread to remove excess milk then add the bread to bowl along with egg, chicken, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and parsley.
4. Using your hands, gently combine the ingredients. Form the mixture into 16 small-medium meatballs and set in a large baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
5. Right before meatballs are ready, bring your chicken stock to a boil and add tomato paste.
6. Then add chicken meatballs, bay leaf, and for 15 to 20 minutes. Stock will reduce by about half.
7. Then add peppers and lower heat to medium for an additional 15 minutes.
8. While meatballs are simmering prepare your sweet potato mash by piercing them with a fork and placing in microwave for 10 minutes, turning halfway.
9. Scoop the flesh into a bowl, then mash.
10. Divide sweet potato mash among 4 bowls and pour over with meatballs.
Elizabeth Carrion, a Dominican, co-founded Mi Cocina, a New Jersey-based catering service that also offers cooking classes, with her sister, Ana Martinez. Follow her on Twitter: @micocinalatina and visit her website micocina-latina.com.