My friend asked me to make an appetizer to bring to her annual Oscar Party, which always makes me happy because I love any excuse to make food to feed to other people and she almost never asks for any help so I felt extra special. I made Rosemary Honey Brie Pops and these sticky meatballs. I have had this recipe from Smitten Kitchen kicking around in the back of my mind for ages and immediately thought they would be perfect for an Oscar party. In my opinion, everyone likes a little meat on a stick and it went with the brie pops theme. I could almost live my entire life eating food on a stick if I could just figure out a way to serve skewered noodles. It will come to me eventually.
I had intended to use Smitten Kitchen's meatball recipe too but I made the glaze first and it was really sweet. I felt that the meatballs needed to be a bit more savoury with, perhaps, a sour element to balance that sweetness out so I decided to make my own vietnamese meatballs but I did replace the onion in my recipe with scallion because I loved that about her recipe. I think the fish sauce in the meat really cuts some of sugar of the glaze and obviously, I skipped the part where I roll my meatballs in sugar before I bake them since you are basically drizzling them in sticky, liquid sugar.
It was a match made in heaven.
adapted from Smitten Kitchen and The Yum Yum Factor
470 g ground chicken
150 g ground pork (you can use any mix of pork and chicken as long as it ends up being about a lb)
3 tbls fish sauce
2 green onions, including green parts, minced
1 stalk lemongrass, tender white inside part only, minced
3-4 tbls chopped cilantro
1 tbls chopped mint
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp kosher salt
few grinds of fresh black pepper
mix the chicken with rest of the ingredients except for the sugar in a large bowl. Mix together thoroughly but gently because if you overwork the meat, your meatballs will be tough.Using slightly damp hands, roll the mixture into golf ball sized meatballs, put on a plate and let them sit in the fridge for half an hour or so - I found the mixture a bit wet but it set up perfectly after a rest in the fridge.Preheat the oven to 400FTake the meatballs out of the fridge and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll each meatball lightly in the sugar and place on the parchment.Bake the meatballs in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes, giving the pan a shake a few times to make sure you get even browning.You can also fry them in a little bit of oil in a pan if you prefer to get a crust on them, it's up to you.
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup mirin
1/4 cup peeled, chopped ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
4 or 5 black peppercorns
Bring brown sugar and water to a boil in a pot over med high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to med low and add the rest of the ingredients. Let it cook down for about 30 minutes until it's reduced by half and nice and thick. Strain it into a bowl.If you want, you can keep it in the pan on a back burner on low while you bake the meatballs or you can cook it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge, reheating it right before you need it.When it's time to serve them , put toothpicks in each meatball, arrange on a platter and then drizzle a bit of glaze over each one.