Chinese Chicken Meatballs (adapted from Guy Fieri's General Guy's Chicken)

Meatballs:
2 lb. ground chicken
2 Tbsp. Sofrito Criollo (peppers, onion, cilantro and garlic in a jar)
1 egg
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1 tsp. each ginger and sesame seeds
2 Tbsp. soy sauce

Mix until well blended. Form into small meatballs. Drizzle sesame oil in bottom of 13 x 9 baking dish. Place meatballs in dish. Drizzle with canola oil.
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Bake 350 F for 30-35 minutes.

Sauce:
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 teaspoons mirin
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with 2 teaspoons water

Ginger-Garlic Paste:

Pulse the garlic and ginger in a food processor. With the processor running, stream in the canola oil and process to a paste. (You’ll need 4 tablespoons of the paste for the present recipe. Refrigerate remaining paste for up to a week or freeze for up to several months.

To make the sauce:

Heat the sesame oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the chicken stock, soy sauce, orange juice, brown sugar, vinegar, mirin, orange zest and pepper flakes. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cornstarch slurry and stir until the sauce is thickened. Pour over drained chicken meatballs in 350 F oven to marry the flavors while you make the rice.
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Serve with rice. Funny story. I decided to be a little lazy and made Rice A Roni Fried Rice (I always use half the seasonings they provide to lessen the sodium). Well, I completely forgot to add any seasoning! Luckily, I used chicken broth in addition to the water called for or the rice would have been totally tasteless! Now I have packets of asian seasonings to use in future recipes, and I stir fried the leftover rice for another night’s meal. No one complained about the plain rice. Probably because the sauce packs a lot of heat!
Top with sliced green onions and more sesame seeds.
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