Them: But what's all that green stuff in them? And where's the pasta? And the sauce*?
Me: These are Asian meatballs. We're having them with rice and the sauce is right over there. It's teriyaki sauce. You like teriyaki sauce, right?
They stare at me like I'm from another planet.
What is with that?
Asian Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Sauce
From an idea on Smitten Kitchen, totally mangled because I bought the wrong ingredients at the store**, but delicious nonetheless. My daughter even had seconds. My son had a lot of rice.
NOTE: You can easily use purchased sauce with these...like my fav, Trader Joe's Island Soyaki. If you use store-bought, you may still need to cook it down to get it to the consistency you want with the meatballs. The original recipe called for ground turkey, so that's worth a try, too. This version makes about 50 or so meatballs.
For the Sauce:
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup soy sauce, preferably reduced sodium
1/2 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
1/4 cup peeled, chopped ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
4 whole black peppercorns
For the Meatballs:
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
6 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (about half a bunch - use more or less, depending on your taste)
2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs
Freshly ground black pepper
To make the sauce, combine brown sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar melts completely. Lower heat to medium low, and add soy sauce, mirin, ginger, coriander and peppercorns. Simmer, stirring from time to time, for about 35-45 minutes, until reduced and nicely thickened. It should be pancake syrup consistency and very dark brown. Strain and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375, and line a large baking sheet with foil.
To the meatballs, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well with your hands until combined. You can use a spoon or a fork, but something about using your hands keeps the meatballs tender and gets everything mixed up just right. Roll gently into golf ball sized meatballs, and place onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until sizzling and nicely browned.
To serve as an entree, pass with the warm sauce and serve with white rice and a green salad. Or, make lettuce wraps, with thinly sliced basil, carrots, and pickled onions*** to go with the meatballs and the sauce. To serve as an appetizer, arrange on a warm platter, drizzle with the sauce, and insert toothpicks.
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* In fairness, they were expecting these, so I couldn't blame them for being a little unnerved by the change of continental inspiration.
** That'll teach me to think I can memorize the Internet.
*** I didn't pick up any of these things at the store either, but I know they'd be awesome.