Whole chickens and boneless pork butts might be hard to get at the moment, but there seems to be ground meat aplenty, at least on my last market run. I stocked up, and am now reaping the meatball-shaped rewards.
One benefit to making meatballs is that you can use just about any meat. The same recipe will usually work whether you’ve got beef, pork, lamb or turkey on hand, or even vegan meat.
Another great thing is that, if you change up the seasonings, you can eat meatballs often without getting tired of them, confident that those cumin-laced, kibbe-inspired orbs dunked in a tahini sauce will taste totally different from the Parmesan-spiked Italian versions.
After defrosting some ground dark meat turkey, I decided to go the sweet-and-savory route, glazing the meatballs with a 1950s-sounding mix of soy sauce, marmalade and red-pepper flakes. They were tangy, a little spicy and very satisfying.
[For more on making meatballs with any meat, see Melissa’s recipe on NYT Cooking.]
To make enough for three or four servings, put a pound of ground meat in a bowl and add 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, some freshly ground black pepper, a grated garlic clove (or a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger), and a couple of tablespoons chopped onion, shallot or scallion. I also added a pinch of allspice, but nutmeg, or nothing at all, would also be fine.
Form them into 1 1/2-inch balls, drizzle with oil, and broil on high, 4 inches or so away from the heat source, for 5 minutes. While they’re sizzling away, stir together a glaze of 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and acid (lime or lemon juice or vinegar), a teaspoon of fish sauce if you have it, a big pinch of red-pepper flakes and 1/4 cup any kind of marmalade (or use apricot jam, or really, any jam, except strawberry, which would be weird). If the fruit in your jam is in big pieces (like thick-cut orange), chop it up.
Brush or spoon the glaze on top of the meatballs and broil for another 2 to 4 minutes or so, until the glaze is tinged with brown and bubbling, and the meatballs are done at their centers. Top with some herbs if you like, and the sweet and brawny juices from the pan.
We ate ours with buttery polenta and sautéed Swiss chard. But rice, pasta or some of that crusty no-knead bread you’ve probably mastered, would all be excellent as well.
This is part of a series in which Melissa Clark teaches you how to cook with pantry staples. See more.