Monday, January 16, 2017

Orange Chicken Meatballs and the Best Brown Rice You Ever Did Have



This is one of my favorite meals to throw together and one I have been meaning to share for a while. It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but there is not much prep work so it is actually quite quick to make. This dish is inspired by orange chicken, but with the twist of meatballs which definitely makes it healthier and super moist. It is a dish that I have made for quite a while and has morphed quite a bit over time. I'm not exactly sure where it originally came from, but it is a staple in our household. I also wanted to share my method for making brown rice because my version is actually edible (LOL). This recipe morphed out of my mother-in-law's method for making white rice and she makes THE BEST white rice. Not to toot my own horn but this brown rice is so good that my sweet husband asks me every time if I am sure it’s brown rice and that is quite a feat if you ask me. 


Before you do anything else, promise me that you will soak your rice for at least 15 minutes if not longer. It makes the BIGGEST difference. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. To prepare your meatballs simply add all of the ingredients except the olive oil (full ingredient list below as well as easy to follow numbered directions) to a bowl and mix well. I typically get in there with clean hands since it is a lot easier than trying to fully incorporate everything with forks or spoons. You could use a food processor if mixing with your hands isn’t your thing.


Set aside the meatball mixture to work on your rice for a minute. Rinse your rice well and set aside. I like to use a sifter to really let the water rinse all of that pre-soaked starch. Place a large saucepan over high heat. Add coconut oil and let sit until fully melted. Add dry rice to coconut oil and let it sizzle for about a minute mixing it around. Add water and salt and give it a stir. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling lower your heat to low and let simmer until all water is absorbed and the rice is nice and fluffy. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.


While the rice is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet by placing over medium heat. While the oil is heating roll chicken mixture into balls that are about one inch in diameter. Once your oil is hot but not smoking place your balls onto the skillet. Give them a minute to brown on one side and then turn them to the opposite side and let them brown there as well. The entire meatball will not be browned but that’s ok as you will be fully cooking them in the oven. You may need to do this in batches depending on how large of a skillet you have. Remove the meatballs to a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil for easy clean-up and try to place them so one of the unbrowned sides is face down on the cookie sheet (if that makes sense). Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the internal temperature is a minimum of 165 degrees. 



While the meatballs are baking make the orange teriyaki sauce. In a large, deep skillet add 2/3 cup water, orange juice, sriracha, ginger and honey and heat over medium heat until simmering. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and three tablespoons of water in a bowl and mix well to make a slurry. Heat the mixture for a few more moments until the mixture becomes thick and syrup like.



When meatballs are done remove them into the skillet with the orange teriyaki sauce and stir them to coat. Serve over brown rice and top with scallions and sesame seeds if you so desire. Tony likes about a zillion sesame seeds so right after this picture was taken he added about half the bottle to his along with more sriracha :) I so hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do.


Ingredients

Chicken Meatballs:
1 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely minced, densely packed
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 egg
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Orange Zest
1/3 cup orange juice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 scallions (white ends only), finely chopped 
1 ½ cups panko crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil

Rice:
1.5 cup dry brown rice
1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil
½ teaspoon salt
2 ¾ cup water

Orange Teriyaki Sauce:
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 teaspoon fresh ground ginger 
½ cup honey 
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons water

Optional Toppings:
Scallions
Sesame seeds


1. Soak your rice for at least 15 minutes in a bowl of water 

2. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

3. To prepare your meatballs add all ingredients except the olive oil to a bowl and mix until all ingredients are entirely incorporated and set-aside. I typically use my hands. 

4. To make rice, using a sifter rinse your rice well and set aside. 

5. Place a large saucepan over high heat. Add coconut oil and let sit until fully melted. 

6. Add dry rice to coconut oil and let it sizzle for about a minute mixing it around. 

7. Add water and salt and give it a stir. 

8. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling lower your heat to low and let simmer until all water is cooked in and rice is nice and fluffy. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.

9. While the rice is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet by placing over medium heat. 

10. While the oil is heating roll chicken mixture into balls that are about one inch in diameter. 

11. Once your oil is hot but not smoking place your balls onto the skillet. Give them a minute to brown on one side and turn them to the opposite side (ok to do in batches). 

12. Remove the meatballs to a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the internal temperature is a minimum of 165 degrees. 

13. To make the orange teriyaki sauce, combine 2/3 cup water, orange juice sriracha, ginger and honey into a large deep skillet and heat over medium heat until simmering. 

14. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and three tablespoons of water in a bowl and stir to make a slurry. 

15. Add the slurry and heat the mixture for a few more moments until the mixture becomes thick and syrup like.

16. When meatballs are done remove them into the skillet with the orange teriyaki sauce and stir to coat. 

17. Serve immediately over brown rice and top with scallions and sesame seeds if you so desire.

Enjoy! 

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!

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