Chicken and Sweet Potato Kotlet

 

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Happy 2014! Every year I make outlandish and unrealistic new year resolutions…that I inevitably abandon after a few days. This year I decided to keep it simple and attainable – add two extra servings of nutrient rich vegetables to my diet per day. Twelve days into the new year and I’m doing pretty well!!

I love Persian Kotlets and I wanted to make a healthier version that tasted delicious and was packed with vitamins. I replaced the traditional beef with lean chicken and the white potato for sweet potato.  Rich in fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese and potassium, the sweet potato is considered by many to be a superfood. Instead of frying the kotlets, I baked them in the oven. By coating them in panko, they achieved the crunch reminiscent of the fried version, while still being soft and tender on the inside. I loved the texture and ease of baking them so much that I think it may be how I prepare all my kotlets in the future!

Chicken and Sweet Potato Kotlet
(16-20 patties depending on size)

1 lb ground chicken (or turkey)
2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 lb)
1 medium onion finely chopped (I chop mine in a food processor)
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup panko bread crumbs
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and rub olive oil on the parchment paper.

Peel and cut the sweet potato in one inch chunks. Steam until fork tender (about 20 minutes). Cool slightly.

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In a large bowl combine ground chicken, onions, dried bread crumbs, salt, pepper and eggs. Using a potato masher, mash the sweet potatoes and add to the bowl. Alternatively, use a potato ricer to rice the sweet potatoes into the bowl. Using a spatula or your hands combine the mixture. If it seems too wet, add a little more bread crumbs.

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Put the panko bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. Take about two tablespoons of the mixture (I use an ice cream scoop) and using your hands roll it into a ball and roll it in the panko. Flatten the meat mixture ball and set on the baking sheet.

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Repeat leaving one inch spaces between the patties. Drizzle patties with olive oil.

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Put in oven for 10 minutes. Turn and cook for another 10-12 minutes or until cooked through and lightly golden on the bottom.

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Serve with yogurt, ketchup or Persian pickles. Enjoy!

Kotlet (Persian Beef and Potato Patties)

These days children are much more adventurous with food. You’ll see toddlers eating sushi, pad thai in lunch boxes and families going out for Ethiopian food. When I was in elementary school the most exotic thing someone would pack in their lunch box was a ham and swiss sandwich.

One day when I was in fourth grade I opened my lunch box and happily pulled out my delicious Kotlet sandwich and took a bite. A fellow classmate looked over in disgust and started yelling “Farnaz is eating a poop sandwich!”. Soon the whole lunch room was starring at me and all I could hear was “yuck” and “gross”. I was mortified and no matter how much I loved Persian food I begged my mom not to stray from peanut butter and jelly anymore! Looking back, it’s funny because the ingredients in Kotlet aren’t exactly “exotic”. It’s essentially just beef and potatoes…..very North American.  Is a Kotlet sandwich really that different from a hamburger? Well, it was the 80’s and to kids back then it was.  Today, I don’t think anyone would bat an eyelash at a Kotlet sandwich in a lunchbox. In fact, I think they would be begging for a bite!

Kotlet are delicious, easy to make and a staple in many Persian households. Beef and potato patties that are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. They are delicious warm or cold, on their own as a main dish or in a sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. For my daughter I serve it with ketchup but for myself I like to eat it plain, with yogurt or torshi (Persian pickles).

Kotlet
(makes about 15-18 patties)

1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 medium onion, finely chopped or grated (I chop mine in a food processor)
2 eggs
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
canola oil

Put potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high and then turn down to medium heat. Simmer potatoes till they are fork tender (about 20 minutes). Drain and cool slightly.

Mash the potatoes with a masher or a ricer (I love using a ricer because the potatoes turn out very smooth)

In a bowl combine the ground beef, onions, potatoes, eggs, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.  You may use a spatula or your hands to combine them well.

Take a piece of the mixture, roll into a ball in your hands and flatten. Form into oval shaped patties about 1 cm thick.

Pour enough canola oil to coat the bottom of a non-stick frying pan. Turn the heat up to medium-high and fry the patties for about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. The patties should be golden and crisp on the outside. Fry in batches so you do not crowd the pan.

When finished frying, place on a plate covered with paper towel to absorb any extra oil.

Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!