After joining the Foodie Blogroll last month, I entered my first Foodie Joust for June. (My entry is here) I had such a great time creating something out of the 3 assigned ingredients (selected by the previous month's winner), that I had to enter again this month. The three ingredients for July are Apricots, Ginger and Butter, chosen by Erin at the Skinny Gourmet. Not being much of a baker and liking my savory entry last month, I decided to go for savory again. Thinking about apricot and ginger led me towards doing something Chinese or Asian style. Trying to work in a bit more butter, led me to thinking about buttery noodles or pasta. Combining it all together, I created my "East Meets West Pasta", baked turkey meatballs with apricots, ginger and butter; in a tangy sweet sour pasta sauce featuring tomatoes and apricot preserves; served on top of a buttery, ginger-spiked Chow Fun noodles mixed with Edamame.
Ginger-Apricot Turkey Meatballs
4 oz dried apricots
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup parsley
1 small onion
2 cloves fresh garlic
2 Tbsp fresh ginger grated (about a 2" piece)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using food processor, one at a time grind the apricots, cilantro, parsley, onion and garlic. Place in a medium mixing bowl and add grated ginger, panko, eggs, melted butter, salt and pepper. Using hands, mix until evenly combined and form into small meatballs--about 1 1/4 " or so. Place meatballs on large baking sheet lined with foil and baked until cooked through, about 12-15 minutes. (Makes about 32 meatballs)Meatballs ready to go in the oven
Sweet and Tangy Pasta Sauce
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup (8 oz) apricot preserves
1 can diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp sriracha chile sauce
1/3 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
In a small saucepan, melt butter and add ingredients up to sriracha chili sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Stir in mirin, tomato paste, salt and pepper, reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
Buttery Ginger Chow Fun Noodles with Edamame
1 package dried Chow Fun Noodles (Hula Brand)
healthy pinch of salt
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp ginger grated
1 cup cooked, shelled edamame
Cook noodles with a pinch of sauce according to package directions until al dente(about 9-11 minutes). Meanwhile heat butter and ginger in a small saucepan over low heat. Drain noodles and toss with ginger-butter sauce and cooked edamame. (If you can't find Chow Fun Noodles--usually in the Asian section of your grocery store or speciality market, you can substitute dried fettuccine noodles).
Assembling East Meets West Pasta: While meatballs are baking, put pasta on stove to cook. Assemble sauce. (You can cook edamame in microwave or on stove top). Place noodles in serving bowl, top with meatballs, pour sauce over top, garnish with chopped cilantro.
The verdict--very tasty! (Which is good because I was worried while I was making it that it would end up tasting pretty funky!) The butter and apricots made the turkey meatballs delightfully moist and tender. Slightly sweet and spiked with ginger, they were delicious topped with the sauce. The sauce, sweet from the preserves and mirin, tangy from the ginger and rice vinegar with a kick from the sriracha chili sauce was not too heavy. The buttery noodles also had a kick of ginger and the edamame added some nice color and texture. Since the recipe made a good amount, I took some to work and gave it to my friend Julie who took it home and shared it for dinner with her husband. They both enjoyed it and her husband liked the sauce especially. The flavors compliment each other and work nicely together. Could you argue that you don't really need the butter? You could, but it adds a lot to the noodles and meatballs--so go ahead and add it in!
Flecks of sweet dried apricot in every bite of meatball