Monday, October 01, 2012
Recipe: "Chicken Broth with Pork and Kale" from "Tender: A Cook and his Vegetable Patch" by Nigel Slater.
Rating: I loved the mint in the meatballs. I still remember that mint months later.
Status: Made once.
This dish was really nice, and very elegant tasting because the chicken stock had a very pure flavor, the greens were cooked just the minimum that they needed to be cooked (I'm tempted to call this "al dente"), and the mint in the meatballs is very refreshing and light. We ate this as a dinner with some sourdough French bread, and some butter for the bread.
I stored the leftover meatballs in the remaining stock, and the cooked greens in a separate container, and ate them a day and a half later. The soup stock was even better the second time, because the stock absorbed even more of the pork flavors. The meatballs were still very tasty, but the mint was subdued.
I used about half of the chicken stock that I made in August (the chicken stock has been frozen since then, waiting to be used), using Michael Ruhlman's recipe. I choose to use my homemade chicken stock in this recipe, because I wanted a recipe that would really highlight the homemade chicken stock, and have a very pure chicken broth flavor, so that I could really get a good idea of how my chicken stock turned out. I really like how clear my stock is, the color of my stock, and it has a really nice pure chicken flavor. I used 1 1/2 tsp salt, though I think a little bit more than this is even nicer, so next time I'd probably use 2 tsp.
I followed the recipe for the meatballs almost exactly as specified except that I only used 1 chili pepper, and I removed the seeds and the pith from the chili. The meatballs weren't spicy at all, so I think I could have used two chili peppers with the seeds and pith removed. I used 1 tsp salt in the meatballs; I think they should have 1 1/2 tsp next time.
I loved all the herbs, especially the mint in the meat balls. I seared the outside of the meatballs in a thin coating (a few millimeters deep) for my 12" cast iron pan vegetable oil heated to about 350 F. I seared two sides of each meatball, for about 4 minutes each side. I do wish that I had also seared the sides, so that the meatballs were more even brown in the soup.
I used spigarello, instead of kale in this recipe. I cut off the thick stems, and cut the leaves into 1-inch thick pieces. I blanched the spigarello for 1 minute, in highly salted water, and then immediately rinsed in cold water to stop the cooking. The greens should not be cooked in the stock, because the greens turn their cooking water murky green, and the water has a slightly unappealing overcooked greens smell. I also squeezed the cooked greens until not much water came out, so that the greens wouldn't dilute my chicken stock. Since I blanched and cooled the greens, I was able to make them while I was defrosting my chicken stock.