Week one of my 80 day recovery work out plan is in the books. I finished my sixth day this morning and tomorrow is rolling and easy stretching. My husband is feeling under the weather today, so we decided to have a lazy Saturday in the house. Neither one of us felt like doing anything more than hanging around the house catching up on our shows. I finally finished the latest episode of This is Us today. When planning our dinner, we decided on a nice, easy comfort meal. I did tweak the recipe because I wanted to experiment with a family tradition – German Potato Balls.
Growing up, my grandmother, mother and aunt always served potato balls with our holiday meals. They never made them other times of the year, so it was a real treat for us all when the holidays rolled around. There’s nothing quite as good as a true, homemade German Potato Ball drenched in brown gravy. Thinking of them always brings back so many wonderful memories of those holiday dinners, when I never had to wash a dish or pot. Literally, just eat and run is what we kids did. These three ladies all made this potato dish easily, but when I was newly married and tried to create it the potato balls just turned to mush. No matter what I did, or how much flour I added, those darn potatoes turned into a big pile of mush. Both of my cousins perfected the recipe and I wondered what in the world I was doing wrong. My mother kept telling me I was using the wrong type of potato. She swore they had to be Idaho potatoes and nothing else. Tried that. Make them the night before, use less flour, more flour, don’t over cook…. I finally decided Potato Balls were not worth the effort and perfected the art of making spaetzle.
My mom has been in the nursing home for about three years now and hasn’t cooked a holiday meal in many more years. We don’t get together with the cousins anymore for the holidays as we live too far apart. The only time I ever get German Potato Balls anymore is in a restaurant and honestly they never taste like our family’s recipe. This year, for our Christmas dinner, I decided I was going to try again. I looked up a few recipes online to see if there was anything I was doing wrong. I texted my cousin to check the recipe. I could see nothing I was doing wrong. When I posted on Facebook that I was making the meal, my mother’s cousin asked if I needed the recipe. Then she said, remember to cook them as soon as you roll them, or they will turn to mush. I looked at my daughter and said, no wonder I’ve had trouble all these years. I was rolling them the night before and cooking them the next day.
This Christmas, we had Roast Pork and Potato Balls and they came out perfect. I was so happy to have solved the 35 year mystery of this darn recipe. Today, I decided to experiment with the recipe and see how it would come out if I used sweet potatoes. Using the same recipe, I substituted sweet potatoes for the Idaho potatoes. They were delicious and hopefully somewhat healthier.
Laura’s Chicken Scarpiello & Sweet Potato Balls
- 5 links of Sweet Italian sausage
- 1 pound boneless Chicken breast
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup white wine (NOT cooking wine)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/8 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Rosemary
- Sweet butter
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Pour a glass of Malbec and turn on Alexa for dancing in the kitchen.
- Slice sausage into smaller pieces and brown in pot in tbsp olive oil until browned on outside. Do not cook through.
- Remove from pot
- Put chicken in food storage bag with flour and shake to coat.
- Place chicken into pot with tbsp of olive oil and turn to brown. Do not cook through.
- Remove from pot
- In same pot, put tbsp of sweet butter and olive oil.
- Cook chopped onions until soft, about 4 minutes.
- Add chopped garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Add the wine and begin to deglaze the pot.
- Add the broth and continue to stir until the pot is deglazed.
- Add the vinegar, salt, pepper and rosemary and stir.
- Arrange the chicken and sausage in an oven safe dish.
- Pour the sauce over and cover.
- Cook in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
- Thicken sauce if needed when serving.
Sweet Potato Balls
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1 cup flour
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup farina
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 piece of toast cut into small cubes (normally we cook these in a pan with butter, but I just toasted today in toaster)
- Roast the sweet potatoes in oven. (Mine were left over roasted potatoes, but you can boil or roast them for this recipe.)
- When potatoes are cool, mash or put through a ricer.
- Add flour, farina, nutmeg, salt & pepper to bowl
- Mix with hands until they no longer stick to your hand
- Roll into balls placing one cube of toast in the middle of each.
- Drop potato balls into boiling pot of water and cook until they rise to the top (about 7-8 minutes)
- Serve immediately