Last year I was given a very cool cookbook:
I have to admit, that last night was the first time I made a recipe out of the book. Sometimes I found the book overwhelming because there are a lot of ingredients that are not the easiest to get a hold of… but I had a request for one recipe, and I thought it had some huge potential.
The first recipe we made was Southwestern Bison Meatball Soup. So, I needed to find bison. Another ingredient I needed to find was jicama. As I was drinking coffee on Monday morning, I called Whole Foods to ask about fresh ground bison – I was pretty sure they had jicama. The nice man on the phone said that they did not have any freshly ground bison, but that they had bison and they would prepare as much as I needed. Amazing! Yet another reason I love Whole Foods.
After coffee and a piece of toast for breakfast, I headed out for errands and ended my running around at WF. I started my shopping trip with a basket – but it quickly because heavy, and I had to go back and switch to a small cart.
I was really relieved when I found jicama:
Once I got home, I unpacked everything. I decided to walk up to the local church that sells pumpkins annually to pick up a pumpkin for our house. It was a beautiful day, and the pumpkins were gorgeous:
I picked up a medium size pumpkin, knowing that I had to walk about half a mile back to the house with it. I was really pleased with the pumpkin I decided on:
The walk home was fine, until the very end when I was definitely questioning my decision to walk to get a pumpkin. It was heavy for the last tenth of a mile or so! Once I got home (and getting in the door was just a little bit of a struggle) I found the pumpkin a new home (in front of the fireplace for now – waiting to be carved around Halloween) I sat down on the couch for a few minutes and re-read the recipe for the Southwestern Bison Meatball Soup. After a few minutes of relaxing, I knew I had to get off the couch and start cooking.
I decided to make the meatballs first – get the worst part over with, I told myself. I really hate raw meat. I thought about wearing gloves – but decided I could get through it with just my hands.
I put the turkey and bison into my bowl and got the rest of the ingredients together. I have really been trying to work on my miss en place lately. I still have a way to go.
One thing you might not know about me is this:
I love smashing garlic. Love it. I also love garlic – and I use a lot of it in my recipes.
I slowly started mixing together the meatballs. It was goopy for sure. It made my skin crawl as I was mixing everything together. What’s worse than just raw meat? Raw eggs. Why not. Let’s mix it all together!
I formed the meatballs once I was done incorporating all of the ingredients into the meat. By this time I have washed my hands about 100 times in very hot water.
The meatballs were the size of golf balls. Once they were all formed, I washed my hands again and heated up some olive oil in my pan. Once the oil was hot, I added meatballs one at a time into the hot olive oil.
Once they were all browned, they went onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and cooked at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. They looked pretty lovely when they came out!
Once the meatballs were done, I let them cool and started prepping the soup. I peeled and chopped the jicama. I peeled and chopped two carrots, one big onion, cubed a zucchini, and smashed three more cloves of garlic all for the soup base. My favorite part of the prep work was zesting an orange:
There is nothing better than the fresh zest of an orange. I love the citrus smell. One the soup was cooking, I ate the orange – it really hit the spot.
I put the vegetables into our stock pot and started sautéing them with two tablespoons of olive oil (have I ever mentioned how quickly we go through olive oil at our house?):
Once the layers of vegetable flavor were being rendered, I added tomato paste. Eventually I added the liquid, I used 7 cups of chicken stock (the recipe called for 9) and two cups of water. I added the quinoa, a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes and the spices, and brought the soup to a simmer.
The soup cooked for about 30 minutes – maybe a little bit longer. Then it was ready to be plated! I had fun plating tonight. We heated up the bison meatballs, I chopped cilantro and shaved some light cheddar cheese with my vegetable peeler. The end result was almost professional looking:
The soup tasted amazing. I loved it. I loved the meatballs, the soup, the garnish, and it was just full of flavor. The orange zest really added another layer of depth. A comment was made as we were having dinner, “This tastes amazing – and so healthy!” I guess it was all of the vegetables working together. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
Andrew Weil’s full recipe for Southwestern Bison Meatball Soup can be found by clicking here. I highly recommend you give it a try, it is such a warm and healthy soup for the cooler and darker nights we have ahead of us! Enjoy.