I know I promised you more Superbowl snacks. So, since I already posted about hummus and nuts, I thought you needed something more substantial to get you through the game. Meatballs definitely fit the bill.

These are not your mother’s party meatballs. You know which ones I mean – the ones swimming in a sauce made of grape jelly and ketchup, the ones that only taste good if you’re really, really drunk.

Yeah, these meatballs are so much better than that. First of all, they’re going to taste great whether you’re drunk or sober, which is an excellent quality when it comes to party food. Secondly, their gingery-salty-herbaceous flavor goes great with beer, so they might actually HELP you get buzzed, which is also an excellent quality in party food. Thirdly, Chinese New Year is upon us, so making this Asian-inspired dish would be a great – and very tasty – way to celebrate. Kung Hei Fat Choi! Go Packers!

They’re a cinch to make, too. The sauce can be done up to two days ahead of time and the meatballs come together pretty quickly, so you won’t be trapped in the kitchen if you have guests coming by. They’re also a cinch to serve. All you need are toothpicks and napkins.

As if all of those reasons weren’t good enough to make you want to try this, I’ll give you another. My absolute favorite thing about this recipe is that it also works well as a quick, relatively easy main dish. So, if you’re not interested in watching the Superbowl or won’t be having a party anytime soon, make them anyway. Glaze them with lots of sauce and serve them over rice with stir-fried veggies for an easy weeknight dinner. Yum.

Ginger-Glazed Scallion Meatballs

(adapted, just barely, from the NY Times)

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1/4 cup chopped peeled ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
  • 4 whole black peppercorns

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 4 large or 6 small scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil.

Make sauce: Bring sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar melts completely. Reduce heat to medium-low and add soy sauce, mirin, ginger, 5 spice, and peppercorns. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated.)

Make meatballs: mix turkey, scallions, cilantro, egg, sesame oil, soy sauce, sriracha, and several grindings of pepper in a bowl. Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, generously cover bottom of pan with vegetable oil. Working in batches to avoid crowding, place meatballs in pan and cook, turning, until browned all over and cooked inside, about 8 minutes per batch. Arrange on a heated platter, spoon a little sauce over each meatball, and serve with toothpicks and lots of napkins. Keep warm in a 200-degree oven until ready to serve.

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