I made a variation on the soup recipe from the New York Times which is posted below. It was really good. I added a few things such as red beans as you will want to do. Don't leave out the greens or the beetroot though, they give the soup great flavor and lift it out of the ordinary. I highly recommend this dish for any soup lovers like myself.
Difficulty level: Relatively easy. You just have to make sure that the meatballs are well formed so they don't break up. You can do a little test before you make the big ones. If they break then add more breadcrumbs.
Meatballs are made with one third each of pork, italian sausage and beef. Add chopped onions, chopped garlic, fresh white breadcrumbs, a little paprika and salt and pepper then knead the mix until you feel it get dense like a dough. If you knead it too much it will be a little tough. I add chopped jalapenos. You can add anything that takes your fancy as long as it doesn't upset the density of the meat.
Form the mix into 3 ounce balls, saute them in a pan until they are brown all over and add them to the tomato sauce of your choice and cook them until they are done all the way.
I made this tomato sauce fresh and added peppers, onions and the like to give it a little more texture. To make your own tomato sauce may be a little more trouble than most people would want to go to but you can add texture and even more flavor to pre-prepared sauces by: slicing onions, green and red peppers and mushrooms into chunks and cooking them slowly in olive oil. Add a dash of white wine vinegar when they are half cooked and a dash of white wine. Then add a lot of chopped garlic and herb of your choice and cook for a few minutes. Then add your tomato sauce and let it simmer for a while before adding the meat balls. You can also add some whole tomatoes. I usually use a good quality canned tomato in juice for this type of sauce instead of fresh. They are moister and more consistent having been harvested at just the right time. The mash is red, yukon gold, white, and russet potato with sour cream and garlic drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
Here is a link to todays New York Times dining section. There are some very interesting soups to be made from these recipes. Note what they say about stocks as opposed to water. It is something I do when I make soups.
Some great times were had here in this hotel with these people. It was an amazing opportunity to get to know other cultures, languages and people. I wanted to go to Paris which had always been my dream but this was before the common market and the paperwork was not easy. Then I was told that I could start in Africa the next day so I said OK. There were two of us, a french fellow and myself, we had our choice between Gabon and Ivory Coast. He went to Gabon. I got the better deal with The Ivory Coast I think. I stayed two years and had a wonderful time. This was Intercontinental Hotels. They were very big in those days.
This fellow on the right with his hand to his face was Christian Pion. When they told me he was coming to the hotel to work i kept saying " I know that name". When he arrived it turned out we had worked together in the Carlton Tower in London a few years before. He eventually replaced me in Paris when I came to the US. Small world.
I then added the shrimp to the hot rice and let them cook in the heat. This prevents them from overcooking during the cooking process. Served with a tomato sauce and a squeeze of lime or lemon, this is a delicous meal or a great appetizer for a dinner party as it can be prepared in advance.
Then I added a cup of plain rice and cooked it well in the vegetables and olive oil and then added the seasoning, a couple of bay leaves and thyme and a quarter of a lemon. I added water at double the amount of rice so that the pilaf would be nice and moist. I let that cook slowly for about 15 mins. or so. I brought it to a boil and then let it finish slowly.
For this I used a bit of a clean out the fridge process. I chopped up onion, sweet red peppers, zucchini, carrot, mushroom, asparagus and a little tomato and I sauteed them with olive oil and added lots of garlic.
These look some of the meanest sons-a -guns you would ever meet but they were all perfect gentlemen and would do anything I asked them to do. They were a great bunch of fellas who took their jobs very seriously and were eager to learn. Look at how skinny I am. WHAT HAPPENED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
INGREDIENTS 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 2 pounds lamb meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes or Lamb ribs or lamb cutlets 2 teaspoons paprika 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or a stick of cinnamon broken in two lengthwise 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or a couple of whole cloves 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander 2 medium onions cut into 1-inch cubes 5 carrots, peeled, cut into fourths, then sliced lengthwise into thin strips 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger Zest from 1 lemon 1 (14.5 ounce) can homemade chicken broth or low-sodium canned broth ( Use water instead ) 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 tablespoon honey
DIRECTIONS Place diced lamb in a bowl, toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and set aside. In a large resealable bag, toss together the paprika, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, salt, ginger, saffron, garlic powder, and coriander; mix well. Add the lamb to the bag, and toss around to coat well. Refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of the lamb, and brown well. Remove to a plate, and repeat with remaining lamb. Add onions and carrots to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the fresh garlic and ginger; continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Return the lamb to the pot and stir in the lemon zest, chicken broth, tomato paste, and honey. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender.
Served with a couscous. This is one of my favorite and one of the most flavorful Middle Eastern dishes even though Morocco is in North Africa ( in case I am corrected ).
I make the sauce seperate from the shrimp here. saute some finely chopped onions until translucent add a little finely chopped celery and carrot and some chopped apple. Add curry powder to your taste and a little flour and cook like a white roux. You can also add some canned tomatoes to this sauce. Add water , lots of chopped garlic, bay leaf and water and cook the sauce for a good hour. Correct the seasoning when finished, strain and keep warm.
Toast some almonds or whatever nut takes your fancy and also keep warm.
Prepare mushrooms of your choice by quartering or halving them depending on the size
Make a rice pilaf using a little more water than recommended so that it stays moist.
Add the raw shrimp and mushrooms to the curry sauce and cook the shrimp till tender.
Fold raw spinach leaves into the rice pilaf and let them cook in the hot rice.
Correct all seasonings, spoon rice onto plate and make a well. Pour the shrimp and mushroom curry into the well with plenty of sauce and sprinkle the toasted nuts on top. A little fresh, seeded and chopped tomato will add a little color.