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Posts tagged ‘Pork’

Spicy Meatball Soup

Meatball soup014


I can’t help it. This time of year I just like eating warm comforting things. And now that the holiday season is behind us, there seems to be even less time than usual.  You come in after a busy day and you just want something fast and satisfying. But before you call the pizza guy…..maybe give something like this a try first. On this particular week night I had the idea that I was just going to whip up a batch of my tried and true “Favorite Soup“. Which is usually made with chicken or tofu as the base, but I didn’t have either of those on hand. But what I DID have was some some left over ground meat from making Kofte two nights before. And if you have been following this blog for any time now, you know I am a great believer of making “clean up the fridge” food!

Start by getting your broth going.

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2-3 cloves chopped garlic
  • aprox 1 inch knob of ginger chopped
  • 1 carrot finely chopped ( optional)
  • 1 celery stock finely chopped ( optional)

In your dutch oven or large pot, get these things going with a bit of olive oil.  Cook them till they are wilty and sweaty looking.

Then add some spices in no particular order and PLEASE feel free to add, omit and change amounts…it is YOUR easy soup!

But rule of thumb about 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of each

  • cumin
  • ground coriander
  • chili flakes
  • curry powder or turmeric
  • garam masala

And then

  • 1 -2 tbsp natural peanut butter ( or other nut butters)

Work these all into the cooking vegetables.

Then add a generous splash of

  • rice wine vinegar
  • soy sauce/tamari/Bragg

Stir those in, let them get acquainted then add

  • aprox 4 cups water or stock of your choice

Bring it all to  boil then turn it down to low, put the lid on it and let it simmer.


You want to get your meatballs done.   And again, use what YOU have available but try keeping in the flavour range of what you have used in your broth.

I basically used all the same spices in both things.  So a shot in the pot and a shot in the meatball bowl!

So you will need

  • ground meat ( whatever you like)
  • 1-2 cloves finely (super fine) chopped garlic
  • 1 -2 chopped green onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup binder like bread crumbs, panko etc
  • handful of fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • assortment of spices from above

Squeeze that all up together and then roll into nice, slightly smaller than golf ball, size balls.


Meatball soup001

Then you want to pan fry them first and add to the soup after, other wise, there is a good chance they will get soggy and break up…..which is fine too…..but I like to keep them in tack.

Meatball soup005

So while those are cooking, you can now add some other stuff to your soup.  And here is where the “clean out the fridge” element comes into it.   More or less chop up and add whatever say greens you might want.  I used spinach and some savoy cabbage,  but kale would do nicely or chard.

And then I added some nice sliced up cremini mushrooms.  But you want to add these fairly close to the end so they retain a little bit of texture.

Meatball soup007

Then for convenience sake, I like to use the old college favorite ramen noodles!  But I always toss out the package of weird who knows what that come with them and just use the noodles.  But feel free to use something else, or nothing at all.

Meatball soup009

I really don’t like trying to fight with getting the noodles back out of the soup pot once I’ve put them in so instead I add one packet per person to the soup bowl first.

Top with the boiling hot soup and then cover with an upside down plate or something like that and let sit for about 10 minutes until the noodles absorb the liquid.

Meatball soup010

Then make sure the noodles are done by giving a bit of a stir with a chop stick to loosen them up.   Then add the cooked meat balls to the top and any sort of  additional topping you might want, like chopped green onion or cilantro and some chopped peanut or a sprinkle of sesame seeds…..whatever you like to jazz it up.

And then just before eating, squeeze a shot of fresh lemon juice on top to help brighten the flavours AND give you a little shot of vitamin C!!


Meatball soup017


A better kind of sausage

So I am going into month two now of the “no gluten” experiment.

I really miss bread and the “gluten-free” stuff really just doesn’t cut it.  I mean I know they mean well but, I only eat it when desperate and only as toast!

But it is really hard to avoid stuff with flour in it!  It’s everywhere in everything!

I personally am a fan of sausage but it is an item them often has gluten in it if you aren’t careful.  And even when they don’t have gluten, they often have stuff like…..oh I don’t know…..SUGAR!!

So I decided, I’ll show em and just make my own damn sausage!

Now don’t get too excited, I didn’t go out and get a sausage stuffing machine or anything.  It hasn’t come to that just yet.

But it proved to be really quite easy and surprisingly tasty!

Here’s what I did.

In the food processor chop up:

  • 3 – 5 gloves of fresh garlic
  • 1 -2 green onions
  • 1/2 red bell pepper

Grind those up first and alone before adding anything else so they are nice and fine.

Then add:

  • 1 pound ( properly treat) ground pork ( I used lean but less lean will make it more “sausage like”)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chick pea flour

Grind all that up till well mixed.

Then add the flavoring of your choice, I was going for sorta Mediterranean so I used:

  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp chili flakes ( less or more if you like)
  • 1 tsp “Greek spice mix”

When whiz em up some more till everything is nice and blended in.

Then, on a parchment covered tray, make patties or balls of your choice.  I made mine sorta “slider size”.

Bake in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes, then take them out and turn them over and give them another 15 minutes or until you are sure they are done.

Use at your discretion!

I paired them with some rice and some cabbage fried up with onion and a bit of tomato sauce.

Now that you mention it, does seem a little like “deconstructed  cabbage roll”!


Sure were good and gluten-free!

Greek night

Well now that I have a nice batch of Tzatziki  ( see yesterday’s post) on my hands why not just have Greek night?

How about a nice pork souvlaki pita and Greek salad?

I guess there are many ways to ask for some sort of meat on a pita, referring to it as a “sandwich” or wrap or what have you.  But in Montreal you call them “souvlaki pita”.

So we need to start with some pork.  The kind that you can chop into large chunks, like a pork loin or even thick pork chops.   On this occasion I just picked up a package of “stir fry” pork.  So what ever is easiest.

If not already cut, chop it into 1 to 2 bite sizes and then in a glass bowl add:

  •   pork
  •  2 gloves chopped garlic
  •  1 tbsp dried oregano
  •  the juice of half of a lemon
  • a splash of olive oil
  • salt and pepper

And then let that marinate for at least half hour, but the longer the better.

marinating pork

Then for the Greek salad. I put together some “Greek like” ingredients.

  • chopped tomato
  • chopped English cucumber
  • large chunks white onion
  • olives
  • oregano
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • goat cheese ( or feta)

Mix these up in no particular order.  You could also add chopped green peppers, but I just went with what I had around.  Then let that marinate for awhile too.

Greek salad

 Then we will need something on the side.  How about some Greek style potatoes?

I used red potatoes and chopped them into a fine dice. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano and a bit of salt. Put them in a hot oven and let them roast, taking them out and  stir them from time to time so they don’t stick to the bottom.

Once the potatoes are almost roasted, take them out and pour about 2 tbsps of fresh lemon juice over them and toss them around.

We are ready to start assembling everything.

Ideally the pork should be cooked on a bar b que or grill pan of some sort to give it that nice char flavour that everyone enjoys so much.  But on this occasion I just tossed the whole marinating roast pan into the oven and let the pork “roast” instead.  The advantage to this is that it keeps the pork moist.

First we need a pita bread.  Lay on a flat surface. 

I just happened to have some wax paper wrappers that are very useful.

So, pita bread, then add a few scoopfuls of cooked pork, a few dollops of tzatziki sauce, a spoonful of chopped onion and a handful of chopped lettuce.

Souvlaki pita

Roll it all up nicely in the wax paper.
Put all the elements together and you have yourself a lovely Greek meal!

Greek meal

Stuffed things

My old roommate and I always used to call them that.

I suppose they would be “stuffed tomatoes” or “stuffed peppers” or stuffed whatevers but we never really knew what we would be stuffing so it was safe to just call them stuffed things.

This recipe is based on my memory of my roommate’s mother’s so hopefully I will remember it all.

First start by getting some “things”.

As mentioned before, you can stuff pretty much any vegetable that can have a hole in it!  But you usually always need at least some of them to be tomatoes because you need the tomato innards as part of any filling.

So for the sake of this exercise, we will use tomato.

Start with some nicely shaped tomatoes, wash them, give them a little slice off on the bottom so they will sit up straight without too much of a fight.  Then carefully cut around the top going in quite deep like you might do with a pumpkin when making a jack-o-lantern!

Then grab that whole circle of tomato flesh ( don’t pull by the stem cause it will just come off and ruin your presentation potential) and give a gentle turn and pull the whole piece up.  You should have a tomato cap with a sort of “root” on it now.

Cut off the excess bottom of the lid and drop it in the food processor.

Then get a sharp spoon and scrape out all the tomato innards into the food processor and then repeat with each tomato and place them in a baking dish.

Hollow out tomatoes

Meanwhile, back at the food processor.  Add:

  • 2 – 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • good handful of fresh mint, stems removed or 1 tbsp dried
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • juice of half of a lemon
  • salt & pepper

Give that all a good whirl up in the machine till it is all nice and chopped.  Then transfer to a mixing bowl where you will add about 1 pound of ground pork and 1/2 cup of uncooked rice.

This part is a little trial and error.  I always use whole grain brown rice which takes longer to cook so if you want to par boil it a little first that’s okay.  Or if you have left over cooked rice you can go with that but add a full cup instead.

Mix all of this thoroughly.

Pork, rice and spices "stuffing"

 Now you are ready to start stuffing your “things”.

Gently spoon mixture into each one and give them a firm push down to make sure they are well packed.

Replace the caps and then put just enough liquid in the bottom of the dish to cover it.  I used broth but water is fine too.  Then cover them with tin foil and place in a 375 degree oven.

Stuff the tomatoes and replace lids

Bake them for about 45 minutes or until the rice is cooked.   Check on them and take a little taste to see if the rice is cooked.  Then replace in the oven uncovered for about another 10 minutes just to brown up the top.

Then remove and enjoy.

Stuffed tomatoes


Meaty muffins?

Okay, you got me!   These aren’t REALLY muffins, they are actually meat balls!  But you’ll see why I call them this.

These are a very versatile item.  They can be a snack on their own, an appetizer or part of meal.

However you choose to use them, I think you will enjoy……assuming meat is your thing.

Start by putting on the kettle and boiling some water.

Then in a heat proof bowl add one cup of bulgar.  ( click here to learn about bulgar )

Once the kettle has boiled, pour water over the bulgar, just enough to cover it, but not drowned it.  Then let it sit for a few minutes until all the water is absorbed.

Then in another bowl:

  • 1 pound of ground meat.  Beef, lamb, pork or in this case I used half pork, half beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 gloves of fresh garlic finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamatta olives
  • 1 tbsp mint ( fresh or dry)
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • Meat ball mix

Mix all of these up thoroughly and then add the bulgar last.   At this point it is best if you get in there with your hands and squish it all up.  Wear rubber gloves if touching the meat grosses you out.


Get out your muffin tin and then grab balls of the meat mixture and stuff them into the muffin holes, being sure to squeeze them down so they are nice and dense.

Meaty muffins

Pop them in the oven on top of a baking sheet in case they leak for any reason.  Bake at 350 for about half and hour or until they look done, nice and brown on top.

Take them out of the oven and let them cool enough to take them out of the cups.

While they are baking, make up a nice little sauce to go on top.

  • 2 cloves chopped fresh garlic
  • juice of 1/2 fresh lemon ( more if you like it more tangey)
  • 1 tbsp very finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp tahini paste
  • salt & pepper

Mix this up and add a bit of water to thin it out to get the desired consistency.

Drizzle over your meat muffins and enjoy!

Meat balls with lemon garlic tahini sauce




Bar B Qish pork

We are still talking toppings for the kale pancakes.

So where are we? We have the pancakes, we have some roasted yams, now we need something a little more substantial.  Assuming you are into that sort of thing.  It is perfectly acceptable to stop there if meat doesn’t ring your bell!

But on this occasion, we’re going to have a little something more.  I’m gonna call it BBQ “ish” pork, cause it isn’t REAL BBQ, it doesn’t even play it on TV!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Some pork.  I used some stir fry type strips that I found already cut that way in the meat section at my grocer but you could also just get some pork chops and cut them up, or a pork shoulder, whatever is easy.
  • 1 large onion in large slices
  • 1 clove fresh garlic chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper cut in strips
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper cut in strips   (you can use whatever colour you happen to have)
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp smokie cumin powder
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes  ( or a few good shots of Chipotle Tabasco )
  • salt & pepper

Get your pan nice and hot and give it a little drizzle of oil, olive or organic canola oil.  Then first add the onions and cook for a minute or two.  Then add in your pork and get a good bit of brown on it, continually tossing.  When those two items have had a good head start, add in what ever peppers you have.

Next we will add the chopped garlic,spices, brown sugar and hot sauce if using. Stir those in till they are well mixed, then add the tomato sauce.  Stir this all up and put a lid on it and turn it down to a slow simmer.  Cook for at least half and hour, but the longer the better.

Now you have all your elements, it’s time to put them together.  

First the kale pancake, then top with BBQish pork on one side and roasted yam on the other.

But your imagination is all you need to find your own fine toppings.

My friend has asked if we could make the kale pancakes thinner and crepe like and then fill them with delicious fillings and I think, WHY NOT!!

In fact, I am going to try that very thing in the near future.  Stay tuned.

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