I really hope you’re not getting tired of bowl-style food you guys because I just love it.
So I guess most people’s first thoughts at the sight of some crates full of plums wouldn’t be barbecue sauce, but you know, I’m weird like that. Yes, that’s the idea that came to me when some of our close friends shared some of the abundance from the plum trees around their home.
I thought I’d just see how many were left after spending a good part of one rainy afternoon washing, cutting, and freezing tons of them. It just wasn’t enough though, there were still plenty more to work with so a vat of sauce was inevitable, and when you give a food blogger a vat of bbq sauce they’re going to need some meat to go with it. With that I decided I wanted to make meatballs and after that I mused over what side options I had on hand. We’ve been very busy lately so the usual amount of ingredients in the fridge and pantry were pretty low. But that’s a good thing because it sparks the need for some creativity which always makes the best food.
I somehow ended up with a very kind of Korean feeling bowl with rice as the base and I topped it with both some fresh and some roasted veggies (and in the case of these plums, fruits). It’s really a simple meal but I think that really helps highlight the flavors in the yummy sauce.
Oh and speaking of highlights, on a side note, I decided that I wanted to do something really different with my hair this past week. It was just at that stringy stage after not being cut for months and truthfully the last cut was not a very good one anyway. It’s a little shorter than I wanted it to be, but it will grow back quickly. I also got some blonde highlights for the first time just to see how I liked it because I’ve never actually colored my hair. It’s definitely not drastic but I like it. Sometimes change is nice.
Alright, but these bowls. You know I just realized while writing the recipe that this recipe is gluten free and dairy free. It’s a bonus, right? The sauce may seem like a hassle but it’s really pretty simple. However, if you are wanting to just make the bowls for the sake of the meatballs and rice then feel free to use store-bought bbq.
The recipe serves about 6 people but that depends on what sort of eaters we’re talking about here. For example, If I tried to serve one of my brothers a dinner with only 2 or 3 meatballs I could have a serious riot on my hands so don’t hesitate to portion out these bowls with as much of everything as you want. If you make this I’d love to know what you think and be sure to tag me if you share a photo or something!
An unexpected ingredient makes this bbq sauce unique and delicious. It's the perfect complement to these chicken meatballs served in a bowl over steamed rice with some colorful veggies!
- 3 cups halved plums, pits removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper (seeds removed), minced
- 1 cup water (plus more if needed)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 1/2 tablespoons worchestershire
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons brown mustard
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 (5.5oz) can tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound ground chicken (turkey would also work)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (gluten free if needed)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup roasted plum barbecue sauce (recipe above)
- 4 - 6 cups steamed white rice
- 3 large carrots, cut into wedges
- 1 large cucumber, sliced
- 1 cup napa cabbage, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C) and line 2 baking pans with foil. Spread the plums out on one of the pans and the carrots on the other pan and brush them with oil. Bake for about 30 minutes until the plums are very wrinkled and dark-looking and the carrots are browning on the edges. Remove and cool for about 5 minutes. (Note: please be careful with the juices when pulling the plum pan out, it could spill on you and it's hot--ask me how I know this [hehe, oops].
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium sauce pan and combine onions, garlic, and about half of the roasted plums over medium heat. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until onions are browned, smashing the plums as you stir. Pour in 1 cup water to deglaze the pan and then add all other ingredients and simmer over low heat until thickened. You can add extra water if sauce gets too thick. You should have about 3 cups.
- Cool and pour any extra into sealable container and store in refrigerator. It should last for at least 3 weeks but I've kept it way longer before. You can also freeze.
- Combine the ground chicken, panko, onion, garlic, salt and pepper in a large, preferably stainless steel, bowl and mix well with a large spoon or clean hands. Form mixture into balls, about 2 inches, and place them on a foil lined tray.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and add the meatballs and tomatoes. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side until browned. Reduce heat to low and add the chicken broth and bbq sauce. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened and meatballs are fully done.
- Fill 4 to 6 bowls with desired amount of warm steamed rice. Top with meatballs and garnish the bowls with cucumbers, cabbage, and roasted carrots, and roasted plums.