September 02, 2007

Teriyaki Pineapple Chicken Meatballs


For the sauce:

14 oz can pineapple chunks, in juice
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 inch knob ginger, minced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 1/2 teaspoon chopped chile pepper (I used cayenne from our garden)
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 teaspoon water
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

For the meatballs:
1 lb ground chicken*
4 tablespoons panko
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
white pepper

For the sauce:
In medium sauce pan, stir together all of the sauce ingredients. Cook for about 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat.

For the meatballs:
In a large bowl and with a light hand, mix together all of the meat ball ingredients, adding an additional tablespoon of panko if needed. Form mini meatballsusing this method or by rolling 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture between oiled hands to form balls. Place the meatballs on the broiler and broil (alternately, bake them on a baking sheet in the oven at about 350) until they are pretty much cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add them to the sauce, and simmer over low for about 10 minutes.

Serve with rice.

*I guess you could substitute ground turkey, but I kind think it's gross. I always find a bit of bone in ground turkey and Maryland is chicken country. I've heard though, that ground chicken isn't easy to find every where so do what you have to do. Lean ground beef would probably be okay too.

My thoughts:
September must brought in a strange wind. Today I was at the store and saw a box of Bruce Aidells' teriyaki pineapple chicken meatballs and was oddly intrigued. I normally don't like anything that smacks of 1950s pseudo-Asian/Polynesian "company cooking" and I abhor sweet things for main courses but something about this sounded kind of good. The easy way out would have been to just buy the box, but you know I couldn't do that. I couldn't even bring myself to buy a bottle of teriyaki sauce. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it my way. So I made up my own spicy pineapple-teriyaki sauce (I had the the ingredients right in the cabinet-who knew?) and used some ground chicken we had bought without knowing what to do with. And you know what, despite the retro overtones, it was really good. By making it myself I could make it the way I knew I'd like it: slightly sweet and extra ginger-y spicy. I don't know if it is going to make it into my usual rotation (how often does one have canned pineapple on hand?) but it was fun to eat.