My first word was “meatball,” a moment I like to think of as when I peaked.
My father makes incredible meatballs; the formula is top-secret, in-the-vault, never-to-be-shared, which makes them a little bit more special, I think. We’ve had my dad’s spaghetti and meatballs after short winter days, after long drives coming home from college, after freezing our toes off on Canyon Road in Santa Fe for Christmas — that delicious nest of carbs propping up the family secret recipe, simmering away back at home.
So it’s no wonder when I read this comment with a meatball chowder recipe, I thought, This is gonna be really, really great.
It’s a weird mixture, was my first thought, and then, Well, let’s give it a go.
In a big (really big) pot, I threw in 6 cups of homemade chicken stock (we had so much of it from the roast chicken last week, I wanted to use it up), tomato juice, crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, carrots, celery, potatoes, corn, green beans and cauliflower (I bypassed the peas), then probably 4 cloves of garlic and half a yellow onion.
I do not have my father’s skill for meatball creation; in fact, this batch I created was a little bit more like smashballs, but they did taste great. I used a recipe from kitchn that includes the following, amended just a hair:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
½ tsp black pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/8 cup dry parsley
1-pound ground hamburger meat
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 clove garlic, finely minced
You start by combining the breadcrumbs with milk, allowing the crumbs to absorb the milk. Meanwhile, whisk the egg, salt, pepper, parmesan and parsley. Throw that meat in there, get your hands in (but not for too long!) then add the onion, soaked breadcrumbs (now the consistency of, well, soggy bread), and garlic. Form into meatballs, and you can either bake them as the recipe states, or do as I do, which was pan fry until cooked thoroughly.
Then I threw those bad boys in and let this simmer, and simmer, and then simmer some more, because this makes a TON of food. I was thinking a family of 8 would probably need quite a bit of food, and this did not disappoint. Bonus: it smells like pizza when it’s cooking, so no need to purchase the coveted Demeter Pizza Perfume. I’m sure that was on your list. No? Oh.
So, long story short, this soup is most excellent! It is very much in line with a vegetable beef stew, but lightyears more complex and delicious (did I mention my thing with meatballs?). The down side is that there is a TON OF IT. So you may want to feed an entire party, lunch or dinner with this concoction, it is the real deal.
From there, I want to take it to the land of sweet. On Thanksgiving morning, my cohort and I made these amazing jam buns, which I keep calling “jam bands” which is odd because I don’t like jam bands nearly as much as I like jam buns, and I wanted to talk about how amazing these jam buns are. I ended up using a store-bought sugar-free blackberry jam and they were divine. DIVINE.
My local grocery store (as well as a big Fred Meyer a few miles away) did not have crème fraiche, so I got creative on it: I used the super-thick Mexican sour cream and added ¼ cup powdered sugar and ½ tsp pure vanilla extract and it turned out awesome! Sure, it was a little tangy, but I enjoyed it juxtaposed with the sweetness of the bun.
So, in terms of next week’s experiment, what do you think about your favorite homemade breakfast pastry? You know, outside croissants for obvious reasons.