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Tsukune

After a long hiatus of not reading Bon Appetit, I’ve been frantically catching up (going to yoga = not going to the gym = not reading on the elliptical). Anyway, the latest issue is a travel issue. At first I was miffed. Food & Wine this month was also a travel issue, and having picked it up at the airport on my way home from a business meeting, I was all travel fooded out.

But tucked in the pages of Bon Appetit was something that F&W did not have – tsukune – or chicken meatballs. Oh, I don’t know why I waited so long to make these. The original recipe is here, and my version, which to be honest was based solely on what was available to me in grocery stores in Cambridge is below.

While the star of this show is the chicken, I’m going to start with the sauce because this is absolutely essential before you proceed. Here’s what you need –

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup sweet white wine (Riesling works well)
  • 1/4 cup gluten free tamari or soy sauce 
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 3/4 tsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 scallion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1-1 inch piece of ginger, pealed and sliced

Combine all of the ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let reduce for about 20 minutes until you have a generous half cup. Place a sieve over a small bowl and strain the solids out. Reserve half of the sauce for dipping.

For the chicken meatballs, here’s what you need –

  • 1 pound of ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 tbsp miso paste (finding gluten free miso is hard. I was not picky about what kind in this instance)
  • 4 scallions minced
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil, plus more for hands and grill

Take 1/3 of the chicken and cook it until just cooked in a frying pan. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Mince your scallions and add to a bowl with the remaining raw chicken and sesame oil. Add the cooked chicken. Oil your hands and massage the mixture until a sticky mound forms, about five minutes.

Form eight equal balls and roll into 4-inch ovals. Flatten slightly. Heat a grill to medium-high heat.

Place on the grill and cook for about two minutes. Flip over and brush the top part with your sauce. After about two more minutes, flip again and brush the other side. Continue this process until cooked entirely through – about 10 minutes – and until the sauce is gone.

Serve with the dipping sauce and enjoy!

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