Saturday, March 12, 2011

Zenfully Good

In my last post I talked about making Asian inspired meatballs with leftover rice pilaf as a filler. I used the "Original" Near East Pilaf mix and with the help of a few pantry items, came up with these aromatic little dumplings that became the star of another new recipe- Lemongrass Noodle Soup.

To make the meatballs:
This recipe makes about 16-18 meatballs-too many for the 4 servings of soup,
but delicious later, warmed as an appetizer or light lunch
1 tsp garlic grated
2 tsp fresh ginger grated
1 large egg slightly beaten
1 T Hoisin sauce
1 cup cooked rice pilaf
1 tsp Sambal Olek
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 pound ground chicken
IN LARGE BOWL combine all ingredients except the chicken and mix well. Add chicken and gently combine with your fingertips. The mixture will be slightly wet, so refrigerate for about an hour and let it firm up a bit. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form chicken mixture into 1-1/2 inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

To make the soup:
2 cans (14.5 oz each) low sodium, fat free chicken broth
3/4 can water
1 T Lemongrass Herb Blend
Zest of 1 lime
1 T fresh ginger grated
1 can (8.5 oz) corn
3 T fish sauce
2 T Splenda no calorie sweetner
2 Serrano chiles unseeded, thinly sliced in rings
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Juice of 1 lime
4 oz uncooked spaghetti
3 oz snow peas
2 scallions diced in rounds (for garnish)
IN MEDIUM SAUCEPAN combine chicken broth, water, lemongrass blend, grated ginger and lime zest. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook 10-15 minutes. Strain the aromatics out of the liquid and return the broth to the soup pot. Over medium heat add the next 7 ingredients (corn through lime juice). Bring soup to a boil, cover and lower heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer 20 minutes.
IN SEPERATE LARGE pot, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Two minutes before the spaghetti is due to be done, add the snow peas. Drain pasta and peas. Now it's time to assemble the soup.
INTO EACH OF 4 bowls place 2 or 3 meatballs, a helping of noodles and snow peas. Ladle broth (with chiles and corn) over the meatballs and pasta and garnish with chopped scallions (I, once again too anxious to eat, forgot the scallions when I served my guests).
This dish has a delicate balance of spices between the meatballs and the soup. And even though there are 2 unseeded chiles in the broth, the flavor is pleasantly mellow. It satisfies any noodle or protein craving you may have, and leaves you with a feeling of contentment. This is what I call Zen Soup.

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