Friday, April 13, 2012

What to Eat First: Asian Scallion Meatballs

This was a great find - a recipe (Scallion Meatballs with Soy Ginger Glaze) from a cookbook series I had not heard of (Canal House Cooking). On my next outing to the bookstore I plan to scout out a copy. I have standards for cookbooks. They must teach me something I don't know, but also contain recipes for dishes I have time to cook and that my family would enjoy eating. I haven't purchased a new cookbook in awhile - food blogs and the online sharing of recipes have met my needs for a new recipe when one is called for.

Anyway, we really enjoyed these Asian meatballs - light, lean, incredibly flavorful. They make great appetizers, especially if you can source those wicked cool knotted bamboo picks. And they froze well, too.

Here's that recipe:
Scallion Meatballs With Soy-Ginger Glaze
Adapted from Canal House Cooking, vol. 3, by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer

Makes apx. two dozen


For the meatballs:
1 pound ground turkey
4-6 green onions, finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil

For the sauce:
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin (sweet rice wine), or 1/2 cup sake with 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup chopped peeled ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
4 whole black peppercorns

Make sauce: Bring sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar melts completely. Reduce heat to medium-low and add soy sauce, mirin, ginger, coriander and peppercorns. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve. Can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated.

Make meatballs: mix turkey, scallions, cilantro, egg, sesame oil, soy sauce and several grindings of pepper in a bowl. Roll tablespoons of mixture into bite-sized balls. At this point, you can freeze them. The best way to do this is to put them on a sheet pan, spaced apart so they're not touching each other. Wrap well with plastic wrap and freeze overnight. Transfer the frozen meatballs to a ziploc bag the next day. Then cook as directed below (the skillet/oven combination of cooking works very well with frozen meatballs).

When ready to cook, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon canola oil. Working in batches to avoid crowding, place meatballs in pan and cook, turning, until browned all over and cooked inside, about 8 minutes per batch. Alternately, brown all over then transfer to a preheated 350F oven to finish cooking.

Arrange on a heated platter, spoon a little sauce over each meatball, and serve with toothpicks. Can be kept warm in a 200-degree oven until ready to serve.

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