Friday, January 27, 2012

Asian Meatballs with Dipping Sauce

I subscribe to the logic that by involving the kids in meal planning and preparation, they will take some ownership in the finished product and, thus, be more willing to try a dish of which they would not normally partake.

That's all well and good, philosophically.  But how is it working in my house, you ask?

Hrmph. Not so well.

Ok, SOMETIMES if my son is allowed to smother a piece of chicken in Cajun seasoning, he'll eat 3 bites.  But only if it is smothered in barbeque sauce.  And my daughter... well, unless its brownies or cucumbers, she doesn't want much to do with either the preparation or the consumption.

Nonetheless, a while back I got ambitious and enlisted the family's help in making a batch of lovely potstickers I'd seen on America's Test Kitchen.  The kids thought it was great, messy fun and were enthusiastic about trying their homemade pasta pockets.  Once they were cooked, however, the wrappers were declared "yucky" by the youngsters and they promptly dissected the divine little pockets, discarding the wontons and devouring the seasoned pork inside. 

I know how to make the best of what I've got, so since then, I've simply mixed up the filling and rolled it into meatballs.  Much quicker, less wasteful, still yummy, and paleo friendly!

(I've also switched from pork to turkey because it just seems to hold together better for me.)

Asian Meatballs
1 lb ground turkey
3 scallions, minced
1 thumb-sized pieces of ginger, grated
3 cloves of garlic, grated
1 carrot, grated
1 cup napa cabbage, finely chopped (or, ya know, grated)
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons coconut aminos  (*substitute soy sauce if you tolerate soy)
1 egg, slightly beaten

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
2.  Set aside 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic and 1 tablespoon of scallions for sauce.  Mix remaining ingredients thoroughly, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
3.  Shape rounded tablespoons of mixture into balls.  Combine 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil in a cast iron or other oven proof skillet and heat to medium high.
4.  Place meatballs in skillet and brown on one side.  Slowly roll to opposite side, maintaining shape.  Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until beginning to brown.  Place whole skillet in oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until meatballs are cooked through.

Dipping Sauce
1 tablespoon minced scallions
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon grated garlic
3 tablespoons coconut aminos
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine all ingredients and whisk until integrated.

We served this with some more napa cabbage that I simply sauteed in EVOO with salt and pepper.  Delish!

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