I don’t typically make dishes with Asian flavors, so this dish was a nice change of pace. Tsukune, Japanese grilled chicken meatballs, and the sweet and sour sauce they are typically served with were the inspiration behind this weeknight dish. The sauce was essential to this sheet-pan meal as well- we repeatedly drizzled it over everything.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Deb Perelman. I used freshly ground chicken thighs and omitted the water in the meatballs. The original recipe suggests using this tasty sauce on pork chops as well.
Yield: Serves 4
For the Sauce:
- 2/3 cup ketchup
- 4 T (1/4 cup) Worcestershire sauce
- 2 T rice cooking wine or water
- 2 T honey
- 4 tsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Meatballs & Assembly:
- 2 heads of broccoli or 2 large broccoli crowns (about 1 1/2 lbs)
- 2 to 3 T vegetable oil, divided (I used canola oil)
- 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 to 1 1/4 lbs ground chicken (I used freshly ground chicken thighs)
- 1 large egg, beaten to blend
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 2″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
- 1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1 T toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- cooked rice, for serving (I used brown Basmati rice)
- lightly toasted sesame seeds, for serving, optional
To Make the Sauce:
- Mix ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, rice wine or water, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and pepper in a small saucepan.
- Measure out 1/4 cup mixture into a small bowl; set aside for glazing meatballs later.
- Bring remaining mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if needed, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Transfer sauce to a small bowl.
To Make the Meatballs & Finish the Dish:
- If freshly grinding chicken, use a meat grinder with the medium disk. Grind trimmed chunks of meat. (I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs.) Chill ground meat until ready to use.
- Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 450°. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Trim broccoli stems and remove from crown. Peel off tough outer skin; slice crosswise into ½” pieces.
- Cut florets into 2″ pieces.
- Toss on prepared baking sheet with 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes (if using). (I used a dash or red pepper flakes.)
- Push broccoli to the edges of baking sheet to create a space for meatballs.
- Brush space in the center of the pan with remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
- Mix chicken, egg, scallions, garlic, ginger, panko, sesame oil, pepper, and remaining 1 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl.
- Using wet hands or a large cookie scoop, form into twelve 1 1/2″-diameter meatballs. (I placed the rationed scoops on a plate and then gently formed them into meatballs.)
- Arrange the meatballs on the baking sheet; brush with some of the reserved glazing mixture.
- Bake until meatballs are cooked through, 14–18 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time
- Remove from oven; heat broiler.
- Brush meatballs with remaining glazing mixture; broil until broccoli is charred and meatballs are browned in spots, about 3 to 5 minutes- watching carefully.
- Spoon meatballs and broccoli over rice in bowl. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallion slices, as desired. Serve with additional sauce on the side to pass at the table.