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Korean Gochujang Glazed Meatballs

Korean Gochujang Glazed Meatballs

I made these meatballs for a recent contest hosted by the Mushroom Council to highlight the the Blend technique. This recipe was the winner and am excited to share it now with you to enjoy at home!

If you aren’t familiar with it, the Blend is where you take chopped mushrooms and mix them in with ground meat and then go about making yummy burgers, meatballs, etc! You can either cook the mushrooms or leave them raw before chopping them up, but cooking does add even more savory flavor to your final dish. In addition to extra flavor, blending mushrooms into meat adds more moistness, better texture, and packs in more nutrition to your meal.

Mushrooms are full of a host of nutrients like Vitamin D, B Vitamins, selenium, potassium, fiber, and phytochemicals. What is very cool about mushrooms is they are one of the few foods that we can get Vitamin D from. They are even able to synthesize Vitamin D when exposed to UV rays. That means you can leave some shrooms outside in the sun for a bit to naturally increase the amount of Vitamin D you are eating! This is a vitamin we all should be focused on because it has effects on many areas of health such as immune, respiratory and muscle function. Read more in this article I wrote on Vitamin D.

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Back to the meatballs! The Korean inspired flavor of these come from mostly fresh ginger, garlic, and gochujang, a Korean fermented chili paste that adds wonderful spicy-sweet complexity. You can find this in a red plastic container in the average Asian food isle at your local supermarket. The meatballs are infused with this deliciousness from the inside out. They get tossed in a sweet-spicy-tangy gochujang glaze after a little time under the broiler to create a lightly crisp exterior with a juicy bite inside.

These meatballs are extremely versatile. Whip them up for a fun appetizer or enjoy a few along with Korean inspired sides such as sesame rice and kimchi slaw for a balanced meal bursting with fresh flavors. Although I haven’t tried it, you can theoretically make them even faster by skipping the roasting of the mushrooms, just chop the raw mushrooms very finely and add them to your ground meat. It might not have the exact same depth of flavor or texture, but I would bet they would still be pretty awesome. I will say that I did try these totally sans mushrooms and I thought they were drier, less juicy, and lacking in rounded flavor. So try out this Blend recipe and enjoy some more great fuel in your life!

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Korean Gochujang Glazed Meatballs

Makes 26 each 1 oz. meatballs

Meatballs

¾ pound white button or cremini mushrooms

1 egg

1 tbs. soy sauce, reduced sodium

1-1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated or minced

1-1/2 tsp. garlic, grated or minced

1 tsp. gochujang paste

1 pound beef, 90% lean

Glaze

4 tbs. sweet chili sauce

1 tbs. gochujang paste

1 tsp. rice vinegar, unseasoned

1 tsp. soy sauce, reduced sodium

Garnish

Scallions, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 375⁰F.

Make the ground mushrooms: Spray sheet pan with pan spray and place mushrooms stem side up on tray. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature and then pulse in food processor until mushroom pieces are like ground meat consistency. Should make 1 cup. Reserve.

Preheat broiler.

Make the glaze: In bowl whisk together the sweet chili sauce, gochujang, vinegar, and soy sauce until smooth. Can also be done in blender or food processor for a larger batch. Reserve.

Make the meatballs: In a bowl whisk together the egg, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and gochujang until smooth, or blend until smooth in blender or food processor. Mix into ground mushrooms, then add ground beef and mix until evenly combined.

Lightly oil sheet pan with vegetable oil. Roll mushroom-beef mixture into 1 oz. balls (heaping tablespoon) and place on sheet pan. Cook right under broiler for about 10 minutes, until outsides are browned and inside has just reached 155⁰F. Toss with the gochujang glaze to coat evenly. Plate and garnish with thinly sliced scallions to serve.

Note: This recipe is written using a non-convection oven. For potentially better browning and crispiness on the outside, use a convection oven and set temperature to 425⁰F.

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