Grilled Chicken Tsukune Sausage
GRILLED CHICKEN TSUKUNE SAUSAGE
MAKES 12 SKEWERS
Closet-size yakitori stalls (so small and casual that you might eat standing up) are part of the fabric of Japanese street food life. There you can order stick after stick of skewered chicken parts, including this tsukune sausage. Yakitori literally means “grilled chicken,” and in yakitori chicken culture, organic (or jidori) chicken is freshly killed (usually mere hours before you eat it) so that the meat retains all of its flavor and texture without requiring refrigeration.
FOR THE TARE GLAZE:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon sugar
FOR THE CHICKEN MEATBALLS:
1 pound ground chicken
10 fresh shiso leaves, finely chopped
4 scallions (green and white parts), finely chopped
2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil, plus more for shaping the sausage
1 tablespoon miso paste Vegetable oil, for greasing the grill pan
MAKE THE GLAZE: Combine the soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a gradual boil, stirring constantly to melt the sugar, and cook until the liquid has the consistency of a denser teriyaki sauce. Set aside. Meanwhile, soak 12 five-inch wooden skewers in a bowl with warm water for about 10 minutes.
COOK THE MEATBALLS: Divide the ground chicken in half. In a skillet, cook half of the meat until it is no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Combine the raw and cooked chicken in a medium bowl, and add the chopped shiso leaves and scallions. Sprinkle with the sesame oil and miso paste, and use your hands to combine the ingredients. Grease your hands with additional sesame oil, and shape the chicken mixture into 3-inch oblong sausages, each about 1 inch thick. Insert a skewer into each sausage.
Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat, and grease it with vegetable oil. Place the shaped sausages onto the pan and grill for about 5 minutes on each side, or until they are no longer pink on the inside and just browned on the outside. Brush glaze on the sausages and continue to grill for about a minute on each side. Before serving, feel free to add more glaze.
Note: Pre-cooking some of the ground chicken helps to make a plumper, less dense sausage, since chicken meat tends to shrink when it cooks.