Meatballs with Orange Sauce
Meatballs should be in its own food group. The term meatball is versatile in and of itself. It actually doesn’t really originate in one particular part of the world. In Italy, they’re called polpette, in Turkey they’re referred to as köfte, and in Hungary, meatballs are called vagdalt. All the different names for a ball of meat refer to the same thing, and have their varietals with flavors, spices, and sauces. I have a few versions such as the classic Meatball, and Italian turkey meatballs, and Buffalo Chicken Meatballs. These meatballs with orange sauce are inspired by Asian cuisine, using mirin and a touch of sesame oil as the base of the sauce, plus the addition of Bok Choy as the vegetable. I am also inspired by my Blue Apron box a few months ago where this was one of the recipes, so I had to try my hand in making it too. Homemade meatballs with orange sauce beats take out any day of the week.
Some meatball recipes call for either baked pan fried/seared meatballs, and this one is the latter. My chicken meatballs are baked, but these meatballs do better when pan seared. I find that searing ground beef really helps to bind the ingredients and capture the juices of the beef.
This meatball mixture is simple: a pound of grass-fed ground beef, chopped garlic, chopped ginger, salt, and pepper. I added just half of a teaspoon of fresh squeezed orange juice too for good measure. Once the meatballs browned on both sides, I added in fresh organic chopped Bok Choy. What’s not to love about this vegetable?
These meatballs pair perfectly with a homemade orange glaze or sauce, made with mirin (an Asian cooking wine, low alcohol and more sugar content), honey, brown sugar, a tablespoon of sesame oil, and fresh squeezed orange juice. All of these ingredients come together in a small bowl and whisked until combined. The sauce is added to the meatballs and bok choy over a low heat to simmer. Fresh chopped scallions dorn the top of this dish and is perfect for any night of the week.
Meatballs with Orange Sauce
Inspired by Asian cuisine, this recipe is sure to please. Meatballs with orange sauce paired with freshly sautéed bok choy is easy to make and packs tons of flavor.
- 1.5 lbs ground beef grass fed is optional, but I prefer it
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger finely chopped
- 2 scallions chopped with the whites of the scallion separated from the green
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
- 1 bunch bok choy roughly chopped
White Rice (as an option to pair with the meatballs)
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 tbsp avocado or olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups water
Prepare all ingredients and vegetables ahead of time: chop the bok choy and add to a large bowl, finely chop the garlic and ginger, chop the scallions and separate green and white parts, pre-measure the ingredients for the orange sauce (mirin, honey, brown sugar, sesame oil, orange juice).
Make the meatballs: add the ground beef, garlic, and ginger to a large bowl. Mix to incorporate the ginger and garlic. Add some salt and pepper and begin to form the meatballs with your hands. The balls should not be larger than a golf ball. Place on a plate and repeat until all meat has been used.
In a large sauté pan, add the oil on a medium heat. To the pan, place each meatball leaving some room in between. Sear on each side for 4 minutes and remove from the pan but do not turn off the heat.
In the same pan as the meatballs, add the chopped bok choy and the whites of the scallion. Toss to coat in the oil and meatball remnants. Cover and bring the flame down to a medium low. Let cook covered for 3-4 minutes until the bok choy begins to wilt and soften.
Meanwhile, begin to make the rice. Add the rice, water, and oil to a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and let cook until the liquid is fully absorbed. Watch the rice so that it does not burn or spill over. Once the rice is fully cooked, turn the heat off and fluff with a fork, set aside.
After the bok choy has wilted and become soft, layer the meatballs back in and pour the orange sauce over the top. Toss to coat and combine all of the ingredients together.
Add one scoop of rice to a plate or shallow bowl.
Plate three to four meatballs on top with some bok choy and a drizzle of sauce.
Add fresh green scallions to the top and serve.