Another culinary adventure inspired by another farmer's market trip.
The market had perfect, shiny, unblemished poblano peppers. I didn't know what to do with them, but I knew that I couldn't leave them behind. Rafe and I both love mexican food - so at the very least I would use them in chili or something....
But then I remembered one of my favorite issues of Bon Apetit Magazine, featuring 5 different meatball recipes.
I'd already made the pork meatball banh mi - but I had yet to try the mexican inspired soup - a soup that would use up my two poblanos.
Now, warning. This is not a quick dinner, nor is it for folks who cannot handle spice. I think I have a reasonable tolerance for heat, and this dish had me sweating....but it was soooo worth it.
It did require a couple special ingredients, namely the ancho chile powder - but I managed to find it at whole foods - so save yourself a trip or a bunch of phone calls and just go there. Instead of panko, I subbed homemade breadcrumbs made from another heel of my sourdough bread. And for the beef, I made what at the time seemed like a ridiculous trek through traffic to City Feed and Supply for VT beef.
To make the recipe a little less daunting, I made the meatballs the night before we would eat the soup. I rolled them, then put them on a baking sheet lined with plastic, then covered them with another piece of plastic and stored them in the fridge.
I find that breaking difficult recipes into smaller steps can make it easier to overcome an otherwise lengthy cook time. And since I was making a soup, I rationalized that the leftovers would make up for it!
Friday night after work, I made the soup as directed in the recipe - and subbed brown rice for white. No big deal there. Once the soup was simmering, I just had to drop my meatballs in one at a time.
While the soup was cooking with the meatballs, I got to work on my garnishes. I cut 4 corn tortillas into thin strips and fried them in a few tablespoons of canola oil. Although the recipe did not include this instruction, I salted them as soon as they came out of the oil.
*warning* do not make more than a serving at a time of these little tortilla strips or you will most certainly eat them all. They are amazing.
Once the soup was ladeled into bowls it was topped with the tortilla strips and some cilantro.
These albondigas were rich and spicy. Rafe and I both felt very satisfied making this our dinner, and we enjoyed the leftovers for a few days.
How do you overcome lengthy or demanding recipes? Do you break them into stages? Do you save them for special occasions? Go all out and eat dinner super late? Or do you avoid them altogether?