Thanksgiving Potato Balls

Food is the perfect representation of what the current season is. As we say farewell to Autumn, the transition from pumpkin spice to peppermint and gingerbread signal the coming of Winter and all the exciting holidays that come with it. If you guys didn’t already know, the two of us (Gina and Linh Linh) work at the same company. Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, it was time to plan what to bring to our company Thanksgiving potluck. The idea for this recipe came to us while we were at work eating potato balls from Porto’s, a Cuban bakery with multiple locations in Southern California. If you haven’t had the chance to try their popular trademarked potato balls, they are simple and delicious deep fried mashed potato balls filled with seasoned ground beef. We gave these potato balls a Thanksgiving spin by incorporating flavors found in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Our version of the potato ball encapsulates a dinner plate piled with turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, roasted vegetables, and macaroni and cheese.

What You’ll Need (makes 48 potato balls): *Note that assembling the potato balls can be time-consuming so if you are making these for an event, we suggest prepping the balls at least a day ahead and frying the day of.*

  • 10 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup Cheddar Jack cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds Italian seasoned ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cups onion, diced
  • 1 cups mushrooms, minced
  • 1 cups corn
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, dried
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pack, Knorr Roasted Turkey Gravy mix
  • 3 cups Cheddar Jack cheese, shredded
  • 3 cups flour/corn starch (more as needed)
  • 3 eggs, beaten (more as needed)
  • 4 cups Panko (more as needed)
  • Cranberry sauce (optional)
  • Additional pack of Gravy mix (optional)

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  1. Boil a large pot of water. Add the peeled and cubed potatoes and boil until the potatoes are tender enough to be mashed with a fork.
  2. Drain the potatoes and pat dry the excess water.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, garlic, garlic powder, butter, milk, and cheese. Mash everything until the potatoes are clump-free and the ingredients are well distributed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Set aside the garlic mashed potatoes to cool to room temperature.

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  5. In a large pan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add onions, mushrooms, corn, garlic, dried cranberries, and thyme. Cook until the onions are translucent and mushrooms are brown.

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  6. Stir in the ground turkey and break up into small pieces. Cook turkey until all browned. Add the 1/2 pack of gravy mix and stir thoroughly.

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  7. Once thoroughly mixed, season to taste and transfer to a large bowl to allow to cool to room temperature.
  8. You are ready to assemble! Using a medium size ice cream scoop, scoop out 1 portion of room temperature garlic mashed potatoes. Flatten out the portion into a sheet in your palm. If your potatoes start to stick to your hands, just dust your hands with some cornstarch or flour.
  9. Fill the sheet with about slightly less than 1 tablespoon of the turkey mixture and a pinch of shredded cheese. *Do not overfill or the balls will burst while frying. Join the edges together and seal/smooth together with your fingers to form a ball. Set aside on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then repeat until you’ve used up all your mashed potatoes.

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  10. Freeze the balls for 1-2 hours. Freezing the prepped potato balls will help them keep their shape while frying.
  11. When ready to fry, roll all your potato balls in flour (shake off the excess flour), dip in your egg wash, then gently roll in the panko. Shake off any excess panko and place back onto your baking sheet.When you are ready to cook your potato balls, use a deep fryer or deep frying pan and heat your oil to 375°F.

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  12. Fry your potato balls in batches. Place a few balls in a time, making sure not to overcrowd the fryer/pan. Roll the balls in the oil as they cook so that there is even browning.

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  13. Once your potato balls are a beautiful golden brown, drain the excess oil on a paper towel or cooling rack. Serve with gravy and/or cranberry sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

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We are so thankful for those of you who read and follow our blog, Instagram, and Youtube channel. Thank you for all the support. It means so much to us that the content we are putting out is reaching not only our family and friends, but also all of you! It’s amazing how food can bring people together. Happy Thanksgiving!

– Gina & Linh Linh

PS – Check out our Instagram @theculinaryfour to follow Brian on his travels to Japan!


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