Hatch Chile Meatball Soup

Hatch Chile Meatball Soup

 

When it comes to soups, I love mine chunky. Sure, a velvety Potato Leek Soup, or a Spicy Carrot-Sweet Potato Soup have their place, and are welcome on my dinner table. But I do love a soup with pieces of meat and vegetable floating around in the bowl, like this Hatch Chile Meatball Soup.

My last post was a recipe for a Hatch chile infused chicken stock, which was made specifically for this soup. Fresh Hatch chiles were used to flavor the stock with a slightly spicy and herbal note, and the meatballs use Hatch chile powder for another layer of flavor.

This meatball recipe makes more than you will need for this soup, but they are really tasty on their own. I cooked up some of the batch in BBQ sauce, and baking or sautéing them in bacon fat is also a great way to cook them.  I mean, really, anything sautéed in bacon fat is wonderful.

Hatch Chile Meatballs

Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 36 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons mild Hatch chile powder

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, using clean hands, mix together all the ingredients until combined well.

  2. Using your hands, roll the seasoned meat into golf ball sized meatballs.

  3. Cover and refrigerate the meatballs until ready to use.

 

Hatch Chile Meatball Soup

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Hatch chile chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 12 Hatch chile meatballs
  • 1/2 pound pee wee Dutch yellow potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 pound baby zucchini stem end trimmed
  • juice of one lime

Instructions

  1. In a large soup pot, bring the stock and water to a boil.

  2. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then add the meatballs.

  3. Cook the meatballs for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and paprika. Simmer for 10 minutes 

  5. Add the zucchini, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

  6. When ready to serve, stir in the fresh lime juice.

Corned Beef Step-by-Step Tutorial

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Corned beef is one of those foods that has gotten marginalized due to its association with Saint Patrick’s Day. For many people, the only time they eat corned beef is in March. And that is a shame, as corned beef is a truly great meat, in my opinion. Of course, if you live in a city with a really good Jewish Deli, such as Katz’s in New York or Langer’s in Los Angeles, then you can get an excellent corned beef sandwich year round.

But I am referring to making corned beef at home, which is near impossible because supermarkets only bring out the packaged corned beef right before Saint Patrick’s Day in March. What to do? Follow this Step-by-Step Corned Beef Tutorial and you can make it anytime you want.

I first made my own corned beef five years ago, and have been doing it ever since. It is such a simple process, although it takes time. Most of that time is just waiting for the meat to cure, so it is painless. Unless you are an impatient person.

Corned Beef

The photo above is of my first corned beef I ever made. It was so delicious and so unlike the packaged corned beef I had always made. For one thing, I didn’t trim the fat, which gave the corned beef and cooking broth much more flavor. Once your broth is cooled overnight you just remove any solidified fat from the surface and throw it away. The flavor remains, and you can cut the fat from the slices before you eat them.

The main component of a good corned beef is a good piece of brisket, usually the first cut. The first cut brisket is the flatter piece. If you are unsure, ask your butcher to get one for you.

The next component is your pickling spice.  This pickling spice recipe is an all purpose pickling spice. Store it in a jar as you would any spice blend, and when you want corned beef or quick pickles, you have a fresh pickling spice on hand.

Pickling Spice
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole allspice
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 1 cinnamon stick
Instructions
  1. Mix the spices together and seal in an airtight container to store.

 

The next component is a brine to cure your corned beef. The brisket needs to stay submerged in the brine for a minimum of one week to let the meat cure.

Corned Beef Brine
 
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Serves: 1 corned beef
Ingredients
  • 7-8 cups water (depending on size of brisket)
  • 1 bottle dark ale
  • 1½ cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • ¼ cup pickling spice
  • 1½ tablespoons pink curing salt
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp Tellicherry peppercorns
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients into a large bowl, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.
  2. Place your brisket into a large pot.
  3. Pour the brine over the meat.
  4. Be sure the brisket is submerged. If needed place a plate directly onto the brisket to weight it down.
  5. Cover the pot and place into the refrigerator for one week.

 

Once the brisket has been brined and become a corned beef, all that is left is cooking. Remove the brisket from the brine, rinse it well to remove the spices and extra salt. Place your brisket into a large pot, pour in a bottle of ale or stout, the fill the pot with water so it covers the brisket by at least an inch.  Bring the pot to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook the brisket for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is tender.

If you want to make a traditional boiled dinner, add potatoes, cabbage wedges and carrots to the cooking liquid once the corned beef is done. Slice the corned beef and return it to the pot with the cooked vegetables.

Or you can slice the corned beef for sandwiches, salads, hash or whatever comes to mind.

Red Cooked Oxtail Dumplings

Red Cooked Oxtail Dumplings

I had never had a dumpling of any kind with oxtails. I have eaten more than my fair share of dumplings in my day, but never with oxtail. After making these Red Cooked Oxtail Dumplings, one thing I know for sure is that I will eat oxtail dumplings again.

After making a large batch of Red Cooked Oxtails, I froze some of the oxtails.

Red Cooked Oxtails

Those oxtails were so sweet, sticky and succulent from the long slow braise in red cooking liquid. The meat fell off the bone and barely needed chewing. They were probably the richest oxtails I had ever made.

These dumplings are incredibly simple because I used store bought wonton wrappers. You will not need the entire package of wonton wrappers, so be sure to freeze them for future use.

Serve them with your favorite dumpling dipping sauce. I recommend Sweet Chile Sauce, which balances the richness of the oxtails.

 

Red Cooked Oxtail Dumplings

Red Cooked Oxtail Dumplings
 
Prep time
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Serves: 15-20 dumplings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Red Cooked Oxtail meat
  • wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten with a teaspoon of water
  • vegetable oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Heat the oxtail meat slightly to make it easier to work with.
  2. On a a clean, dry surface place a few wonton wrappers.
  3. Place about 1 - 2 teaspoons of oxtail onto each wrapper.
  4. Brush a small amount of the egg onto the edges of the wrapper.
  5. Fold the wrapper in half diagonally, pressing out any air, and sealing the edges well.
  6. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and oxtail.
  7. If desired, brush the tips of the triangular dumplings with egg and fold inward to make a pentagonal dumpling.
  8. In a small pot, pour enough oil to deep fry the dumplings.
  9. Heat the oil to 350° F.
  10. Fry the dumplings in batches until golden brown and crispy, about 4 - 5 minutes.
  11. Drain well on paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

 

Red Cooked Oxtails

Red Cooked Oxtails

I have never tasting anything I did not like if it has been prepared in a red cooking sauce. Whatever protein type you braise in this flavorful liquid comes out moist and tender. Red cooking is a Chinese technique of braising meat in a soy based liquid with sweet and savory spices added.  The long, slow simmering in the spiced liquid produces a rich, tender meat.

Last year I red cooked a piece of pork belly, and it literally melted in your mouth when you took a bite.

Red Cooked Pork Belly | Black Girl Chef's Whites

After braising the pork I cooled the braising liquid, removed the now solid fat from the surface and froze it for future use.

The future is here.

Red Cooked Oxtails

Red Cooked Oxtails
 
Prep time
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Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 cup mirin
  • 1 cup dark soy
  • 1 cup light soy
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 1 cup sliced ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon Five Spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns
  • 4 pounds beef oxtails
Instructions
  1. In a large pot over medium high heat combine all the ingredients except for the oxtails.
  2. Bring the red cooking sauce to a boil, cook for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the oxtails, cover and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Cook the oxtails for about 3 hours, until very tender.
  5. Remove the oxtails from the red cooking liquid and serve.

 

Red Cooked Oxtails

Slow Cooker Beef Cheek Ragu with Orecchiette

Slow Cooker Beef Cheek Ragu with Orecchiette

Beef cheek? What the heck is a beef cheek?

It is exactly what it sounds like. The cheek of a cow. When I think of cows, I tend to picture them chewing their cud in a grassy field. And the muscles the cow needs to chew are in the jaws and cheek. Those muscles work hard everyday, meaning they are tough and lean. That is a very good thing, because the tougher cuts of meat are also the most flavorful. But, if they are not cooked correctly, they become a not very good thing.  Tough cuts of meat need to be cooked low and slow. That means low temperature for a very long time.

Beef cheeks are not something you find in your everyday supermarket, unless you live near a good Hispanic or Asian market. Go to a butcher store, or ask the meat department in your supermarket if they can order them for you.  If beef cheeks are nowhere to be found, this recipe would work well with beef shanks or short ribs. You will have to adjust the cooking time.

Slow Cooker Beef Cheek Ragu with Orecchiette

Slow Cooker Beef Cheek Ragu with Orecchiette
 
Prep time
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Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 2 pound beef cheek, excess fat trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 can (28 oz) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 can water
  • 8 ounces orecchitte
Instructions
  1. Place the onions, thyme, rosemary, oregano and .garlic into a large slow cooker.
  2. Season the beef cheek with salt and red pepper, place on top of the vegetables.
  3. Pour the can of tomatoes onto the beef.
  4. Using clean hands, crush the tomatoes to release their juices.
  5. Fill the tomato can with water and pour into the slow cooker.
  6. Set the slow cooker to high.
  7. Cook for 6 - 6½ hours, until the meat is very tender.
  8. Remove the cheek from the slow cooker and shred the meat.
  9. Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce, removing any herb stems in the sauce.
  10. Return the meat to the sauce.
  11. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
  12. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
  13. Serve the ragu over the cooked pasta.

 

Slow Cooker Beef Cheek Ragu with Orecchiette