Ginger Meatballs and Coconut Broth

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Saturday night – need something that is reasonably easy to eat for Mr MWCED had a tooth extracted/stitches so doesn’t want anything too hard on his gums. I had pork mince and a quick search on my favourite food blog soon found the inspiration. Thank you once again, Smitten Kitchen.

The original recipe suggests that the broth is sieved – but I wanted to ‘beef’ it up with some vegetables so added some onion, celery and carrots. You can add whatever else might be in the magic fridge – I would.

This would serve about 4 people – though I’d probably add a few more veges, make more meatballs or have a side of something. While I halved the original recipe for the meatballs I kept the broth at around the same amount of ingredients – for you can never have enough of a delicious broth, right? Chile is up to you – you could use more, or less.

MEATBALLS

  • 500g minced pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • 1-1/2  tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  •  teaspoons salt

BROTH

  • One 165ml can coconut cream
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh red chile, thinly sliced
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • salt
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced celery stalk
  • 1 small carrot thinly sliced
  • 100g baby spinach
  • Coriander and mint for serving

Make the meatballs: Preheat oven to 220 celsius. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  Make small size meatballs and place them on a baking tray about 1-inch apart. Bake until the meatballs are golden brown and just cooked through, about 12 to 14 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the broth: In a large saucepan, combine everything except the spinach and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat so the broth is simmering. Simmer 10 minutes, until the flavours are infused into the broth. Season to taste, if needed, with salt. 
Add the meatballs to the broth, return to a simmer, cover, and simmer until cooked through and tender, about 10 to 15 more minutes. Add spinach and cook just to wilt. Season the broth with salt and lime juice if necessary. Serve with herbs, additional chiles, lime wedges, rice and roti.

Lentil and Potato Salad

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It is winter and some comfort food never goes amiss.   This recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen, my go to blog for tasty recipes.    I didn’t change it up too much – except for substituting Coriander for Parsley – the Coriander in the garden looked much, much too good not to use.     And I also paired the salad with another Smitten Kitchen recipe – Chicken Skewers with Dukkah – though took Deb’s suggestion of omitting the skewers.   Next time I think I would halve the dukkah and sub panko crumbs.  They were still tasty though – and great with aioli and a home-made chilli tomato chutney.    In fact the aioli and chutney go great with the salad too.

Lentil & Potato Salad

Serves between 4 and 6

2 large shallots, 1 halved, 1 finely diced,
4 sprigs of thyme
1 small bay leaf
1 cup dry small green lentils (smaller keep their shape better)
Salt and pepper
500g small potatoes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (my cupboard was bare, so used white wine vinegar with a splash of red wine that just happened to be open….)
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced or smashed to a paste (your preference)
1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed, drained and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons cornichons or other sour gherkins, roughly chopped
1 to 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped coriander

Cook lentils: Pick over and rinse lentils. Place them in a small/medium saucepan with the halved shallot, thyme, bay leaf, some salt and 4 cups of water. Simmer the lentils over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until firm-tender. Drain (discarding shallot, thyme and bay leaf) and keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook potatoes: Either boil or steam – until they are tender, but not too soft. Drain and keep warm.

Make the dressing: Place the chopped shallot and red wine vinegar in the bottom of a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in minced garlic, dijon, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and olive oil. Stir in chopped capers, cornichon and scallions.

Assemble salad: Slice potatoes into small chunks and place in serving bowl. Add lentils, dressing and all but 1 tablespoon coriander and combine. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. Scatter salad with remaining coriander.

This can be a stand-alone lunch, maybe add a poached egg, or as a side.  Can be reheated – and keeps in fridge for up to 5 days. Enjoy!

Pork Empanadas with Cabbage

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Cabbage you say!  Yep,  I didn’t fancy currants, olives and capers as per the recipe I was looking at, and I knew for certain Mr MWCED was not going to want currants and olives, so I figured best substitution was something fresh from the garden, and cabbage it was.

Usually we make these in the winter, but it was a chilly evening so I thought they would be perfect. And they were.   This recipe is an amalgamation of a couple from the web – the filling (apart from the bits I didn’t use!) came from Emerils.com with the pastry from My Colombian Recipes  (and while you are there check out the amazing recipe for Columbian Black Cake – I am definitely going to try that!)

Search out my post from last year for Rustic Chicken Empanadas for another take.

Enjoy your Empanadas!

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Pork Empanadas

Dough:

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
115 gms butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg
¼ cup ice cold water (or a little more if your mixture is too dry).

Mix flour and salt in the food processor then add butter, egg and cold water. Pulse until mixture comes together.   Shape into a ball, wrap and refrigerate for between 30 minutes to an hour (no panic if it is a bit longer).

Filling:

350g pork mince
1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon dried oregano (or mixed herbs)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (or chilli flakes)
½ cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced/chopped (whatever you prefer) garlic
Diced capsicum – about half a cup
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons cider vinegar (can substitute with rice vinegar)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 cup water
Chopped cabbage (we picked ours from the garden – use as much or as little as you like)

1 large egg, lightly beaten (for brushing finished pastries)

While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling.  In a medium frypan over high heat, combine the pork, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, oregano and crushed red pepper and cook until meat is golden brown and cooked through (about 6 minutes) – use a spoon to break meat up if it is forming clumps.  Add onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes then add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add the capsicum, tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar and stir to thoroughly to combine.  Stir in the water and reduce the heat to medium.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is very thick and flavours have come together – about 15 minutes.   At about the 10 minute stage, add chopped cabbage.

Once finished take off heat and let cool.     Before you roll out the dough and fill the pies, heat oven to around 180 F.

Place the dough on a floured surface and sprinkle with flour.  Roll out to a circle about 1/8” thick.  Using a small saucer as a guide, cut as many rounds as you can.  Press scraps together and knead again to reform dough to cut more.  We got 9 from our pastry, enough for dinner and a couple of freezer meals (1-1/2 pastries each was plenty).

Using a tablespoon, top one side of dough with about 2 tablespoons of the cooled meat filling.  Using a pastry brush, brush the edges of one side of a round with some of the beaten egg, then fold the edges over so that the dough meets to form a half-circle shaped pie.  Using the tines of a fork, press the edges of the dough circle firmly to crimp.

Line a baking tray with baking paper (or use nonstick cooking spray) and place the pies on the tray.  Using the tip of a small knife, cut several small slits into the top of each empanada to allow air escape while baking.

Brush empanadas with leftover egg mixture.

Put tray into oven and bake for around 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

I served this with a fresh green salad: frilly lettuce from the garden; tomatoes; blanched asparagus and fresh herbs (mint and basil).   We also had an onion marmalade.

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