Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Daring Cooks' October 2015 Challenge: Have a Rice Day

For the month of October, Sawsan from Chef in Disguise challenged us to prepare a rice based main meal that represents our own culture, or one from a cuisine that we would like to explore.

I chose to share a Dutch Meatball Soup recipe. This soup reminds my husband of his grandmother. It reminds me of the winter we visited his Dutch relatives. It was one of the coldest winters they had in years, so the pond behind his Aunt and Uncle's home had frozen over. I had such a wonderful time watching everyone ice skating on the pond. (Seven months pregnant at the time, I did not dare join the fun.) That evening, his aunt made balletjessoep (meatball soup) for dinner. 

Rice has been a favorite staple in our household for as long as I can remember. On our first date, my husband brought everything he needed to my apartment to cook a chicken stir-fry dinner, including chop sticks. I can still remember him laughing as he taught me to pick the rice up with the chopsticks. 

In 2013, I began having some health issues that turned out to be food related. The long list of foods I need to avoid and/or limit discouraged me from The Daring Kitchen Challenges. Now, I am ready to face the challenge of adapting the recipes so they better fit my dietary needs. Rice is one of the foods I need to limit, so a small bowl of meatball soup was a real treat for me. 

This recipe was adapted from the book, Dutch Touches. According to this cookbook, the original recipe was submitted by Marian Schoolland from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I adapted the recipe to make it gluten-free and egg-free. The rice does a wonderful job of thickening this soup and I love the touch of nutmeg.

First, I chopped 2 stalks of celery. Then, I peeled the carrots. 
The Genius Nicer Dicer my mom gave me for Christmas made chopping the carrots and onion a breeze. 
I just sliced them and diced them.
I set the veggies aside.
Next, I brought the water to a boil, added the rice 
and set the timer for 20 minutes.
While the rice was cooking, I measured the bread crumbs, 
nutmeg and salt in a small bowl and mixed them well.
I mixed the ground beef and bread crumb mixture together 
in a medium-sized bowl.
Then rolled the beef mixture into meatballs.  
I like small meatballs, so these were 1/2- to 3/4-inch in diameter. 
I placed the flour on a dinner plate, lightly dusted the meatballs with flour, and then set them aside on a clean plate.
When the timer for the rice went off, I added the vegetables and the meatballs to the pot and let the soup boil for 20 minutes.

Normally, I use this 20 minutes to clean my kitchen. However, I purchased 2.5 pounds of ground beef (as it was $1.00 less a pound.) So, I mixed a second batch of meatballs.
I put them on a baking tray lined with wax paper and froze them and then transferred them to a Ziplock freezer bag. 
They are all ready for the next time I make my hubby meatball soup. All I have to do is take them out the night before.
By the time the meatballs went in the freezer, our soup was done.
We sprinkled the top with freshly ground pepper (after this photo was taken) and enjoyed!

 My youngest is not a big fan of this soup, but he ate some anyway. I haven't told my eldest son I made it. He's at college and would be disappointed that he missed out!

Dutch Meatball Soup
Serves 8-10

Mandatory Items:
Large Pot
Cutting board
Veggie Peeler
Wooden spoon (or large plastic spoon to stir soup)
Small bowl (to mix bread crumbs and spices)
Medium bowl (to mix ground beef)
Measuring cups
2 Plates (1 for the flour and 1 to put the floured meatballs onto)

10 cups water
1/2 cup rice
1 to 1 1/4 lbs. ground beef
1/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs* 
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup gluten-free flour**
3 large carrots
2 stalks celery
fresh ground pepper (optional)

1. Peel carrots and chop into small pieces.
2. Finely chop celery, carrots and onion. Set aside.
3. Bring 10 cups of water to a boil.
4. Add 1/2 cup rice to boiling water and boil for 20 minutes.
5. While rice is cooking, combine bread crumbs, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl. Mix well.
6. Place beef in a medium-sized bowl and mix in the bread crumb mixture.
7. Pinch off small amount of the meatball mixture and roll into meatballs. (I prefer mine small, roughly 1/2- to 3/4-inch diameter.)
8. Pour flour onto a dinner plate or into a pie dish.
9. Lightly dust meatballs with flour and set on a clean dinner plate. (I pour about 1/3 of the meatballs onto the flour at a time, then pick each one up and quickly roll it in my hands. This spreads the flour into a light coating.)
10. When the timer goes off for the rice, add the vegetables and the meatballs. Stir and cook for 20 minutes. 
11. Serve and enjoy! We like ours with freshly ground pepper sprinkled on top.

* I used Ener G brand bread crumbs because they are also dairy-free, egg-free and soy free. I found them in the natural foods gluten-free section at Fred Meyer. (Next time, I need to make my own bread crumbs that are also yeast and corn starch free.)

** I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, which I also purchased in the Fred Meyer natural foods gluten-free section.

Sawson shared two family rice based dishes with us for this challenge. Click here to see the recipes and the challenge at The Daring Kitchen. Again, I would like to thank Sawsan at Chef in Disguise for this fun challenge!


Renata said...

A lovely soup for a cold day! Sounds delicious!
A great job on the Rice challenge!
Thanks for your lovely comment on mine!

Khristine Doiron said...

Looks delicious! I love a bowl of soup :)

Renee said...

Thank you, Khristine. I think I became my husband's hero this week. He was thrilled to have leftover Meatball Soup for his lunch. :)