Recipes: Cantonese Spiced Pork Meatball and Watercress Soup

  • Updated: May 2, 2012 - 2:41 PM

Also: Spiced Chicken and Ham Spread, Country Hash and Grilled Lamb Kefta.

James Villas offers plenty of suggestions in his new book "From the Ground Up."

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CANTONESE SPICED PORK MEATBALL AND WATERCRESS SOUP

Serves 6.

Note: Ground chicken (especially dark meat) works well as a substitute for the pork. You will need to partially cook the rice before starting the soup. From "From the Ground Up," by James Villas.

• 2 tbsp. peanut oil

• 1 medium onion, finely chopped

• 1 garlic clove, minced

• 2 quarts beef broth

• 1/2 c. tomato purée

• 1 tsp. ground allspice

• 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg

• 11/2 lb. ground lean pork (see Note)

• 1/2 c. half-way cooked long-grain rice (see Note)

• 1 egg, beaten

• 2 tbsp. minced watercress

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

In large saucepan or pot, warm oil over moderate heat, add onion and garlic and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Add broth, tomato purée, allspice and nutmeg; bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine pork, partially cooked rice, egg, watercress, salt and pepper in large bowl, mix thoroughly with your hands until well blended and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture is fluffy. To shape meatballs, roll mixture into balls about 1/2 inch in diameter.

Drop meatballs into the simmering broth and stir gently to keep them from sticking to one another. Cover pan and simmer soup about 30 minutes longer. Serve piping hot in wide soup bowls.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 323 Fat 19 g Sodium 1,326 mg Saturated fat 6 g

Carbohydrates 8 g Calcium 42 mg

Protein 29 g Cholesterol 100 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1/2 bread/starch, 4 medium-fat meat.

 

SPICED CHICKEN AND HAM SPREAD

Makes about 21/2 cups.

Note: This is a classic way to use up either chicken or ham leftovers. Here they are combined. Adapted slightly from "From the Ground Up," by James Villas.

• 1 c. coarsely chopped cooked chicken

• 1 c. coarsely chopped cooked ham

• 1 tbsp. minced sweet pickle

• 1 tbsp. grated lemon zest

• 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter, softened

• 1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• Tabasco sauce to taste

Directions

Run chicken and ham through the meat grinder or food processor.

In a bowl, combine mixture with pickle and lemon zest. Add the butter, nutmeg, salt, pepper and Tabasco, and mix until well blended and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes. Serve on thin rounds of rye bread or crackers.

Nutrition information per 2 tablespoons:

Calories 46 Fat 3 g Sodium 134 mg Saturated fat 2 g

Carbohydrates 0 g Calcium 3 mg

Protein 4 g Cholesterol 16 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1/2 medium-fat meat.

 

GRILLED LAMB KEFTA

Serves 4 as an appetizer.

Kefta are oblong ground-lamb patties on skewers. You could also make them into patties for the grill. From "Let the Flames Begin," by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby.

• 1 lb. finely ground lamb

• 1/2 red onion, peeled and grated

• 1/3 c. roughly chopped fresh parsley

• 2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed, soaked in water for 30 minutes and then squeezed dry

• 1/2 tbsp. ground cumin

• Pinch of cinnamon

• 2 tbsp. paprika

• Dash of red pepper flakes

• Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

In a large bowl combine the lamb, onion, parsley, bread, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Wet your hands with water, then mix the ingredients together very well with your hands (wet them periodically so the meat doesn't stick to them), until the mixture has a uniform, almost silken consistency. Don't skimp on the mixing -- getting the right consistency is key. As you knead, the fat will disappear into the meat and eventually the mixture will have a consistency almost like wet bread dough: smooth and somewhat shiny and a little tacky. Divide this mixture into 8 to 12 portions, then either form each portion into an oblong sausage shape around a flat-sided skewer or shape it into a small patty.

Prepare the grill.

Place the kefta skewers or patties on the grill and cook until they are just cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. (To check for doneness, cut into one and peek to be sure it is done the way you like it; the authors recommend that the meat be just barely pink inside.)

Remove from the grill and serve hot or at room temperature with pita bread and yogurt.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 262 Fat 17 g Sodium 110 mg Saturated fat 7 g

Carbohydrates 9 g Calcium 56 mg

Protein 19 g Cholesterol 72 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1/2 other carb, 3 medium-fat meat, 1/2 fat.

 

COUNTRY HASH

Serves 6.

Note: For hash, you will want to develop a nice crust on the bottom. Then it is broken up and the bottom is browned again. A well-seasoned cast iron pan works well; a nonstick skillet also can be used. Precooking the potatoes and then chilling them yields the best texture and prevents the potatoes from breaking up during cooking. From "The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook," by Christopher Kimball.

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 tbsp. butter

• 1 medium onion, diced

• 1/2 c. diced red bell pepper

• 1 lb. potatoes, boiled until just tender, chilled, peeled and diced

• 2 c. ground (or diced) cooked roast beef, turkey, ham, lamb or corned beef

• 1 c. chicken stock, divided

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• Freshly ground black pepper to taste

• 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme, or 2 tsp. dried

• 1/2 c. minced fresh parsley, divided

Directions

Heat a 12-inch nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron pan over medium heat. (A cast iron skillet of this size will take a few minutes to heat up.) Add oil and butter and, when the foam subsides, add the onion and diced pepper.

Toss to coat with the oil/butter mixture and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and just starting to brown. Add potatoes and cook for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are lightly browned.

Add the meat, 1/2 cup chicken stock, salt, pepper to taste, thyme and 2 tablespoons parsley. Stir to combine.

Cook without stirring for about 7 minutes or until the bottom of hash is browned and has a crust. Break up the hash, mixing the crust back into the meat-potato mixture; repeat twice as crust forms on the bottom. Add additional stock 1/4 cup at a time as the mixture starts to dry. After the last crust is formed, taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Allow a final crust to form on the bottom, sprinkle with remaining parsley, and serve in wedges with poached eggs, if desired.

Nutrition information per serving with chuck roast:

Calories 227 Fat 11 g Sodium 270 mg Saturated fat 4 g Carbohydrates 17 g Calcium 31 mg

Protein 14 g Cholesterol 47 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 2 lean meat.

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