Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Húsgombóc leves - meatball soup

Yeah, that's another favorite after the Hungarian gulyas and stuffed cabbage, and it is actually a kinda combination of the two :).
Lots of veggies enriched with meat&rice balls.. 
The apropo of this dish was the organic mince beef I purchased from Costco for the stuffed cabbage. 
Business as usual, it is sold in big quantities, and while I was pulling apart the remaining two packages I teared open one of them. Well, I suppose it would've stored just as well teared, too, but I though I will use it asap instead, I need to cook a lot anyway.
So, off to purchase some carrots, parley root (I usually end up settling with some parsnip instead) and celery roots (another rare find in local shops).

Ingredients (for a 6 quart pot, and it will be VERY thick, or an 8 quart pot nice soup)
1 pound, 500 g minced meat (again, I prefer the 50-50 pork-beef, but I usually get the Costco organic minced beef). For a lighter soup reduce the meat amount
0.5 pound (250g) rice
1 egg
salt, black pepper
1 tsp paprika powder
1 pinch caraway seeds 
8 large carrots
2 large parsnips or better parsley roots
1 medium sized celery root
1 tbs minced red pepper (can be left out if you don't have)
1 large tomato
1/2 green pepper
1 small bunch Italian parsley

sour cream, Knudsen preferably (this time no Costco product hehe.. Daisy's sour cream is pretty nowhere compared to Knudsen's)
some fresh lemon juice, optional, but I think it makes it so much better! Especially if it comes from your ow tree!

Chop the carrots, parsley (parsnip), celery root into small stripes. Not sure why in this soup the shape is not the usual small cubed or slices, but it's not. So I cut the way I've always had it back home.
The parsnip/parsley should be cut in thinner stripes as the taste is stronger, and you don't wanna scare the kids away with it, plus it tends to be harder.

Chop the onions into small cubes and saute until golden brown. Remove from heat, add the paprika powder, pour in some 1/3 cup water, place it back to the heat and let it simmer until the water is reduced. Base on the end result I could've used a bit more paprika, or a more red one.. Next time ;).
Add the chopped veggies and saute them for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water until the pot is half full and bring to boil. Reduce heat to half. Add the tomato cut in 4, and the pepper pieces. As I mentioned I try not to spoil a whole pepper, I used the pepper stub and whatever meat is left around. It is just for the taste.
Meanwhile mix the meat with the rinsed rice, add 1 tsp salt, large pinch of black pepper, minced red pepper, and at the end add the egg. The egg is MANDATORY to hold the meatballs together.
Mix until combined well with the egg.

Scoop small walnut size pieces of meat form, slightly roll them in you palm into perfect :) balls and drop them in the soup. Add the whole amount of meat and pour in more water until the ingredients are all well covered by water.
Sooo, I was told the walnut size balls are too big. :) Next, shape just half walnut size balls, and they'll grow anyway :). Reduce the cooking time too, though, I guess for smaller balls 30 minutes should be enough. Remove one ball and taste to make sure..

Add the parsley (half of it chopped if you like), leaving some leaves for serving. Add another tspof salt, pinch of black pepper and the pinch of caraway seeds.
Bring to boil and at medium/low heat (barely bubbling) let it boil for 45-60 minutes. Taste, and if the meatballs are cooked remove from heat.
Serve with fresh white or whole wheat bread, lemon slices and sour cream (not mandatory).
It would go very well with some extra spiciness, so if you have Erős Pista don't hesitate to use it! :)
Bon appetite!

1) Caraway seeds: don't worry if you don't have, just leave them out, but don't use the Cumin instead even if in Hungarian the caraway is called kömény, the taste of the two is VERY different.
2) For the half pepper I usually use the leftover ends from breakfast, and prefer the ones that have strong taste not the watery bell pepper). This time I used Poblano peppers, and even though it should be chili, if you leave the stem and seeds out it is not. We have it on sandwich when in season. 

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