Thursday, 6 October 2011

Asian Hot Pot

Brodo Asiatico Speziato con Verdure Trittati e Polpettini di Manzo
Spicy Asian Beef Broth with Shredded Vegetables and Meatballs

Walking home in the rain, after having done overtime at the agency, had me craving for something warming, comforting... and somewhat of a treat to make up for the hard day. So it had to be a soup- that much was clear. I love soups- you can offer me a soup even on the hottest Summer's day and I will be delighted- but on a cold, damp Autumn evening? You betcha!

And yet again, this whole evening meal was based on using what was there in my fridge. I had enough ground beef to either make a large hamburger... or something a little different. I am all for different as you all know... and so I walked away from the deal with 2 delicious dishes rather than one everyday burger.

I started off my soup by making plain little meatballs- just salt and pepper for seasoning and a little muscle-power to toll them together. These are little bite-sized affairs, and I fried them in a dry saucepan to get some good flavor out of them- at the same time, I wanted them to simply taste of meat and not of spice, as the broth is going to be so full of flavor that the meat should retain its own "personality".

Once the meat is lightly browned, remove it from the pan and add a mixture of vegetables.
I had some snow peas which I cut into fine strips, carrot, bell pepper, spring onion, celery and a little ginger. These all went into the saucepan and fried gently in the fat that was left after browning the meatballs. Fry for 2-3 minutes and de-glaze the pan with a splash of sherry, some boiling water and a little beef broth. Season with Chinese 5-spice powder, chili, oyster sauce, Thai fish sauce and a good squeeze of lime juice. Return the meatballs, add some coarsely chopped coriander and parsley and simmer fur a further 3-4 minutes... and there you are! Simple and delicious... and who could ask for more?

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