Friday, November 02, 2012

Balls class! With Italian Wedding Soup

My good friend Kelly, who writes the food blog Sounding My Barbaric Gulp, is a fantastic cook. You might say she started the Year of the Balls by giving me a cookbook dedicated to balls. She shares her knowledge and skills at Kitchen Conservatory, a kitchen store and cooking school here in St. Louis. As a supporter of balls, Kelly held a class called "Girls Night Out: Balls!" Great class? Or BEST CLASS EVER?

Above are 4 of the courses she demonstrated how to make. The melon ball sangria included white wine, Midori and sparkling wine. The Goat cheese balls were coated in pecans and pumpkin pie spice and warmed in the oven, then skewered with grapes that had been soaked in bourbon. My heavens! So good. The Bahn Mi sandwiches were filled with  pork meatballs that had been seasoned with a variety of Asian flavors, mayo miked with Sriracha sauce, and quick-pickled carrots and radishes. Most people in the class had never had Bahn Mi sandwiches and were blown away by these. The peanut butter bacon truffles? Need I say more?

The other course was Italian Wedding Soup with chicken meatballs. I was most excited about this because I love Italian Wedding soup but had never made it myself. Guess what? It's even better when you do make it from scratch! I will be making this soon and often.

Italian Wedding Soup

For the Meatballs:
3/4 lb. ground chicken
1/2 lb. chicken sausage, casings removed (or just do 2 lbs. ground chicken and add traditional sausage spices such as fennel)
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper

For the Soup:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
3 carrots, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
3 stalks celery, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
10 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup orzo
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
12 oz. baby spinach

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF

2. For the meatballs: mix all the ingredients in a bowl gently with a fork or with your hands. Make small 1- 11/4-inch meatballs and drop onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

3. For the soup: heat oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.

Previous Year of the Balls posts:

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