As promised, here is the recipe for the soup that I talked about yesterday. I cannot lay claim to the original idea for the combination of a broth soup and the little meatballs because I saw this style served at a restaurant here in western Pennsylvania (they used fishballs which were amazing)and thought that I would give it a go myself. The restaurant serves mainly Vietnamese Pho (pronounced “Fah”) soup and this soup; according to what I have been able to read today, is the official soup of Vietnam. All of the broths (fish, vegetable and beef) at this restaurant have a sublime taste that I would never be able to deconstruct but here is my best attempt. Traditionally, the soup is beef broth with rice noodles and some sort of protein (chicken, tofu or beef) served with basil, sometimes lime and bean sprouts. I am not a big fan of beef soup so I exchanged the vegetable broth soup (lower fat more nutrients) for the beef and kept the “bird” idea with the small turkey meatballs.
What you will find today are two short recipes and the construction instructions for the final product. I used broad, flat rice noodles and put them in the soup whole. However, when I do this again I will probably break the noodles in half before I boil them to make them easier to handle when they are in the soup. This soup was served with a spinach and baby green salad with mushrooms and tomatoes. The bonus with the vegetable broth is that I had 6 cups I froze for later use.
You Take My Broth Away
Vegetable broth soup
(Serves 4 – 6)
3 – Leeks ( the whole shootin’ match leaves and all washed thoroughly and cut into 4 inches pieces)
½ – Medium Sweet (or large if you are into that) Onion without the thin skin quartered
1 – Red bell pepper (chunky sliced)
1 – Green bell pepper (chunky sliced)
1 pt – Mushrooms (I used an assortment to get a variety of flavors)
3 stalks – Fresh basil (with leaves and all)
6 stalks – Fresh cilantro (with leaves and all)
1 stalk – Celery (cut in half and then into 4 inch slices)
6 cloves – Garlic (skinned and crushed, all you have to do is pound them one time with the flat of your cooking knife blade)
15 – Baby carrots (halved) or you can do 3 large washed with the ends cut off of them
2 tbsp – Coarse ground black pepper
Kosher salt – to taste (we are pretty low sodium in our house and I used only 4 tbsp)
1 tsp – Ground ginger
3 – Bay leaves
4 to 5 quarts of cold water
Take all of the prepared vegetable ingredients and put them in a large stock pot (or, as I did, put them in the strainer part of a pasta pot) cover these with water. Next, add the ginger, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Without the lid on the pot bring this to a slow boil (I started on about medium high 7.5 to 8.0) and after about 3 minutes, reduce heat to medium low (about 2 to 3) and simmer for 4 to five hours stirring occasionally to keep those veggies moving. At the end of this time all of the vegetables should be wilted and drained of color. If you are using a regular stock pot, strain out the vegetable remnants and if you are using a pasta pot with an inside strainer just lift the vegetables out of the broth and discard. The vegetables have done their duty and you have a great broth!
Note: I know this is a long time but you will be able to freeze some of this for later use.
Cute little turkey meatballs
1 lb – Ground turkey breast
3 – Very thin slices of a medium sweet onion (fine chopped)
8 leaves – Fresh basil
¼ cup – Fresh chopped cilantro
2 tbsp – Light soy sauce
4 cloves – Garlic (medium sized and run through a garlic press or fine minced)
¼ cup – Chicken broth or stock
In a large bowl combine turkey breast and the remainder of the ingredients and mix thoroughly making sure that all of the ingredients are evenly distributed. The consistency of the turkey mixture should be almost sticky when you are done combining the ingredients. Form the mixture into small balls (they should end up being the size of a ping pong ball or about 1 to 1 ¼ inches in diameter). Place the meatballs on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with Pam (you should have between 30 and 36 meatballs). Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 15 to 25 minutes turning them over once during the baking. They are done when you can press on them with a fork and they slightly spring back.
Note: A neat trick for baking larger meatballs is to use muffin pans, which I do for Italian meatballs, because there is no turning of the meatballs as the shape of the idividual muffin holder cooks the meatball evenly and all the way through.
Note: Because these meatballs are so small it will not take them long to cook all the way through.
The Grande Finale!
Cook half a package of the broad (or thin if you desire) rice noodles drain and put into your vegetable broth. Then, take a soup bowl and hang 4 fresh basil leaves along the side, place four to five meatballs in the bottom of the bowl and ladle broth with noodles over the top.
The Well Fed Cyclist