It’s no secret that I’m impressionable when it comes to food. I’m the poster child for culinary autosuggestion. Mention some kind of food, save for monkey brain, and chances are I just might develop a hankering for it in a few minutes. It has been a lifelong crux, there’s nothing a voracious eater can do.
Early last week I saw Martha make Minestra Maritata with Chef Nate Appleman (whose A16: Food + Wine book was given to me last Christmas) and at that instant I wanted to make some meatball soup. That’s the power of Martha. Or it could just because her show is right before lunch.
We bought a family pack of ground beef from Whole Foods last Sunday and you bet I was going to make full use of it. This is the first of many dishes I’ve made from it. It might be fitting to call it Recession Meat because if I was to track our consumption of it, it it might actually suffice for a week’s worth of dinners (and my lunches). Perhaps we should start a Recession/Depression series as Denise and Lenny have on their site, seeing that we both go to WF for our groceries. Yes, you could still save and survive during these times while eating and shopping organic, you just need to be more aware of what you buy and planning your meals.
Having said that, planning a whole week’s menu is unheard of in my family. The only ones I remember doing that was our household help, and then I end up ruining them sometimes because of my last-minute food cravings (haha). I’m trying to start a semi-planning kind of thing last week. Kind of. I find cooking inspiration and suggestion from cooking books or magazines, Twitter friends, Food Network or Martha and tweak recipes to accommodate the ingredients that we have.
I made this dish the night that Obama had his 8pm ET speech last week, so I forgot to turn the meatballs halfway through the baking process. They still turned out perfect, thank goodness. I was able to make 49 meatballs out of a 750 grams of meat mixture using a tablespoon to measure each, so they would look fairly uniform. I only used 30 meatballs for the soup and froze the rest for some spaghetti and meatballs.
These meatballs made our kitchen smell like a weekend breakfast of Italian sausages. Yummy. You can eat them with gravy or ketchup, too.
The soup base is a combination of parmesan cheese broth (from boiled parmesan rinds) and beef broth. You can save your rinds from cheese blocks or you can find them at the supermarket (we found ours at Whole Foods).
I added a celery slices and stalk of rosemary in the soup while it was cooking. And then wilted some spinach leaves before serving.
This turned out so delicious. It was just what we needed that chilly evening.
Add some brown rice and it’s even better!
Here’s the recipe if you want to try it:
Beef Meatball Soup
» Download the PDF recipe
Ingredients for Meatballs (makes 49 tablespoon-size meatballs)
- 1.65 lb ground beef
- 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used cornflakes)
- 1 tsp fennel seeds and 1/2 tsp peppercorns, finely chopped (your small food processor would do the trick)
- 1 stalk of rosemary, the leaves removed from the stalk and finely chopped
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
Preparation of Meatballs
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease one baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a big bowl.
- Shape balls from the mixture by measuring out 1 tablespoon for each mound and line them up on the cookie sheet.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked. Turn halfway through. Take out of the oven and cover with foil.
Ingredients for the Soup
- 5 cups water
- .2 lb Parmesan rinds
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 beef bullion cube (or replace 2 cups of water in #2 below with 2 cups of beef broth and add salt to suit your taste)
- 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced crosswise
- 3 handfuls of spinach leaves
- 1 stalk of rosemary
- fresh ground pepper
- Boil water in a pot. Add the parmesan rinds. Cover and leave for 30 minutes.
- Sieve the broth into a bigger pot. Discard parmesan rinds. Continue heating the broth in the med-low heat and dissolve the beef bullion.
- Put the celery, rosemary stalk and meatballs into the soup. Add fresh ground pepper. [I only used 30 meatballs, but you can put all of them. Just add more spinach.] Cook for 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and mix in the spinach leaves. Cover for 3 minutes and serve.