Tsukune are Japanese chicken meatballs that are cooked on a griddle, teppanyaki-style. The moment I tried making them with duck, I was hooked. Since my favorite thing about duck is often the crispy skin, I found a way to use the duck cracklings as a garnish to provide roasted flavor and needed textural contrast. These balls will be some of your favorites and are exactly the kind of easygoing supper item that are also great for entertaining izakaya-style. A word about the sauce: It’s superb. Try using leftover sauce on broiled fish or with sake-steamed chicken rice bowls.
- 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 cup sake
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 shallot, chopped
- One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 1 small dried hot chile
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 star anise pod
- Two 1-pound duck breasts, skin reserved and meat cut into 1-inch pieces
- Two 1-pound whole duck legs, skin reserved, meat cut into 1-inch pieces, bones discarded
- 1 cup minced scallions (8 scallions)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon yuzu kosho
- 1 tablespoon brown miso
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons finely grated garlic
- 1/4 teaspoons ground star anise
- Vegetable oil, for brushing
- 6-inch wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
Make the Sauce
In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 7 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and let cool completely; discard the solids.
Prepare the Duck
Spread the duck skin on a work surface and, using a sharp knife, scrape off any excess fat. In a large skillet, cook the skin over moderately low heat, flattening it with a spatula, until golden and nearly crisp, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer the skin to a rack to drain and crisp, then break into small pieces.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the breast and leg meat and pulse until finely chopped. Scrape the chopped meat into a large bowl and add all the remaining ingredients except the oil and mix well. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls and thread onto bamboo skewers.
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan; oil the grate. Brush the meatballs with oil and grill over moderately high heat, turning, until lightly charred outside and medium within, about 6 minutes. Transfer the skewers to a platter, garnish with the crispy skin and serve with the sauce.
Originally published on Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures on foodandwine.com.
Photograph by Madeleine Hill.