Sesame Orange Chicken Meatballs
broccoli / rice
For a fun twist on the American-Chinese favorite, we're using chicken meatballs instead of chopped chicken.
Smarts: Baking the meatballs in the oven will help them to hold their shape, but be careful not to overcook them. They'll continue cooking a bit as they simmer in the sweet and tangy sauce.
- Rice, uncooked white or brown - 2 cups
- Green onions - 2 stalks , chopped green and white parts separate
- Eggs - 1
- Chicken, ground - 1 lb
- Panko breadcrumbs, gluten-free - 1/4 cup
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
- Garlic - 2 cloves , chopped
- Ginger - 1 1/2 tsp , grated
- Orange juice - 2 cups
- Tamari - 1/3 cup
- Ketchup - 1/3 cup
- Brown sugar - 2 Tbsp
- Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/4 tsp
- Water - 2 Tbsp
- Cornstarch - 1 1/2 Tbsp
- Sesame seeds, white - 2 tsp
- Oil, toasted sesame - 2 tsp
- Broccoli - 1 lb , florets
- Oil, olive - 1 Tbsp
Rice - (This makes enough for 2 nights; if prepping right before cooking, get oven heating while rice cooks.) For white rice, rinse until clear. Fill a saucepan or Dutch oven (or rice cooker) with rice, water (use 2:1 ratio for water to rice), and some salt. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Once water boils, stir, lower heat to a low-medium, and cover. Check white rice after ~20 min; brown at ~45 min. Rice is done when it's absorbed all the water. If it's not done, leave the cover on until all water has been absorbed. Take cover off to release steam and fluff with a wooden spoon after 5 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Green onions - Chop, keeping green and white parts separate. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
Make meatballs - Add eggs to a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Add chicken, panko, salt, pepper, and white parts of green onions. Gently mix with a spoon or your hands until everything is evenly combined. Form into 1” / 2.5 cm balls and arrange on a small sheet pan. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
Heat oven to 425F / 218C. Place one oven rack in the upper third and one in the lower third of the oven.
On a large sheet pan, toss broccoli with olive oil and some salt and pepper. Bake on the lower rack of the oven, shaking the pan halfway through cooking, until very tender and golden on the edges, 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove the sheet pan with the meatballs from the refrigerator. Drizzle the meatballs with some oil or spray them with olive oil spray. Transfer pan to the upper third of the oven and bake until the meatballs are firm and just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.
While meatballs bake, in a large saucepan (use one large enough to hold all of the meatballs), combine garlic, ginger, orange juice, Tamari, ketchup, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes to let the flavors develop.
Whisk together water and cornstarch. Stir the cornstarch slurry into the sauce until it thickens slightly.
When meatballs are done baking, add them to the sauce with the sesame seeds and toasted sesame oil. Stir the meatballs to coat them in sauce.
If rice was made ahead, reheat in the microwave. (Reserve half for Thursday.)
Serve meatballs and broccoli over rice. Top with green parts of green onions. Enjoy!