Caldo de Albondigas Rellenes~(Cheese Stuffed Meatball Soup)

Have you ever started with a recipe idea in mind, then you end up with something  even more delicious than you imagined? That was the case with this recipe for Caldo de Albondigas Rellenas. My friend Denise, who loves to cook, shared a recipe for a French Onion Soup with Stuffed Meatballs. My intention was to try it just as it was written, but ended up not having enough onions and a few  of the other ingredients. So, as I do for many recipes, I just pulled from what I already had in my pantry and refrigerator. I added some of my favorites like zucchini, carrots and jalapeño. The results were delicious! A cross between French onion soup and Mexican meatball (albondigas)soup, but with cheese stuffed meatballs. Bonus! A hearty meal, to say the least. The wonderful thing about this recipe, is that you could serve the meatballs in a nice, fresh bollilo roll and serve the soup on the side. Or you can serve it as is with warm corn tortillas.

 

Caldo de Albondigas Rellenas~(Cheese Stuffed Meatball Soup)

Caldo de Albondigas Rellenas

 

For Cheese Stuffed Meatballs
2 pounds ground chuck, chicken, pork or turkey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons chile ancho powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 ounces smoked cheese, I used gruyere
*slice cheese into 16 equal cubes
Olive oil for cooking meatballs

Tips* This was prepared in a large quantity for a pot luck meal, but you could certainly cut all of the ingredients by half for a smaller family.

Caldo de Albondigas Rellenas

 

Caldo de Albondigas Rellenas

 

Caldo de Albondigas Rellenas

 

For Soup Base

2 tablespoons Oilve oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large sweet onions, sliced into strips
salt and pepper to taste
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 zucchini, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup peas
1/3 cup cilantro
1/4 cup champagne or sherry vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
3 cups beef stock
3 cups chicken stock

 

Caldo de Albondigas Rellenas

 

Caldo de Albondigas RellenasNot the prettiest when all of the onions caramelize and reduce, but the flavor was delicious!

Caldo de Albondigas Rellenas

Directions

1. To  prepare the meatballs. In  a large bowl, add the ground meat, spices, bread crumbs and eggs. Mix to combine. Roll 16 equal meatballs. Take each meatball and flatten slightly. Place a cube of cheese in the center and form meatball around the cheese to cover completely. Place on tray or plate and refrigerate until ready to use.

2. To a large dutch oven style pot, add olive oil and butter. Add all of the onion, and heat to medium/low. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook and saute for a good 15 minutes, stirring often to move so that the onions brown and reduce.

3. Add the garlic, jalapeño, bell pepper and carrots and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. Add in all of the remaining ingredients for soup. Bring to a boil, reduce to lowest setting and keep covered 3/4 of the way.


4. While the soup simmers, brown the meatballs. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat in a large skillet. When hot, add the meatballs and sear for 3 minutes per side. Try to get as many sides browned as you can. You may have to brown them in batches.

5. Once meatballs are browned, raise the heat slightly on soup pot. When it starts to boil gently, carefully add in all of the meatballs. Making sure they are immersed into the broth so they cook properly. Cover pot partially and continue cooking for 30  to 35 minutes, gently stirring meatballs once as they cook. Most of the meatballs opened up on me, but the cheese stayed intact. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro. Yields up to 8 to 10 servings. 

Caldo de Albondigas Rellenas

 

Caldo de Albondigas Rellenas

 

 

Cubano Pizza with Carnitas~Testing Recipes

Recently I was asked to create a pizza with some unique toppings. Without getting too crazy, I decided to search my pantry and refrigerator for what I had on hand. I found some baked ham in the freezer, some pork tenderloin slices and all kinds of cheese. First thing that came to mind when I saw the ham and pork tenderloin was a Cubano sandwich!! I have been experimenting with adding some bicarbonate to yeast dough for and extra fluffly and airy results. So this was the perfect chance to try it out on the pizza dough recipe that I use all the time. Challenge accepted! Don’t let the fact that you don’t have a pantry full of leftovers, like me, stop you from trying this recipe. Next time you cook any kind of pork chops, tenderloin or roast, just set a pound aside. Purchase some pizza dough from your local pizzaria and precooked ham and you are all set! I just have to add that this was the best pizza dough I have ever made! Who knew??

 

Cubano Pizza with Carnitas

Cubano Pizza with Carnitas

1 pizza dough recipe with added picot (0.17 oz)
1/3 cup garlic mojo (see end of post for recipe)
1 full cup baked ham, diced
1 pound cooked carnitas. chopped small
2 dill pickle spears, sliced thin
 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
More garlic mojo
1 1/2 cups muenster cheese, shredded
1/2 cup swiss cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan shredded
Fresh oregano for garnish

Directions

1. Grease pan, add  add a light dusting of cornmeal. Cornmeal is not listed but I did use about 1/4 cup.

2. Place dough onto pan with cornmeal and using your hands shape dough into a 12 inch pizza, thick on the edges.

3. Layer  onto the pizza the ingredients in order listed

4. Bake on bottom rack of a preheated 500 degree oven for 14 minutes. Move to middle shelf and bake for another 4 to 5 minutes. Let rest before slicing. Yields 4 servings

 

For Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough-Cubano Pizza

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 cup warm water, 105 degrees
3 cups all purpose flour, sifted (I used bread flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

**1 (0.17) packet of Picot bicarbonate, optional

Tips~ My secret to a light and airy dough is a packet of Mexican bicarbonate Picot (0.17 oz) or you can use 1 Alka Seltzer tablet. Just make sure you crush it into a powder form before you add them to the mix. This tip provided by MarisolPink on youtube. 

Piiza Dough-Cubano Pizza

 

Cubano Pizza with Carnitas

 

Cubano Pizza with Carnitas

Cubano Pizza with Carnitas

Tips~ When you add the mojo sauce to the crust, don’t spread it out like I did or the garlic will burn under that high heat. You can still brush the crust with some extra olive oil.

Directions

1. To prepare the dough, stir and dissolve the yeast with the water and honey in a large bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes.

2. After 10 minutes. Add the salt, oil, and 1 cup of flour, stir until well combined.  Add the bicarbonate  to the flour. Gradually add in the rest of the flour until dough forms.  You may not need all the flour, especially if you sift it. I used almost all 3 cups of flour, left some for later.

3. Transfer the dough to a glass bowl that has been coated with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 40  to 60 minutes.

4. After it rises, gently punch down and knead on a lightly floured surface. Now you can divide the dough into  two to four equal parts or you can prepare one large thick crust pizza.. Knead it with your hands to form a smooth dough ball. Transfer a plate and let rise for another 20 minutes. If not going to use right away, wrap it tightly refrigerate it or freeze it for a later time.

Cubano Pizza with Carnitas

Cubano Pizza with Carnitas

 

Quick Carnitas

Quick Carnitas

1 pound cooked tenderloin, chopped small
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon oregano, crushed
1/4 teaspoon chile de arbol powder  or chipotle powder
Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon manteca or oil

 Add the pork, lime juice, orange juice, oregano, chile powder and pepper to a skillet. Cover and heat to medium. Cook until all of the liquid has evaporated, add the manteca and cook just until brown and crispy looking in most spots. Remove from heat. I did not add any salt, but you could add a pinch if you like.

 

Quick Garlic  Mojo Sauce

Quick Garlic Mojo Sauce For Pizza

1/3 cup roasted garlic or store bought roasted garlic in oil
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
salt to taste

Add all the ingredients to the blender. Blend until smooth. Taste for salt. Flavor will improve over time so you may want to prepare it the day ahead.

Cubano Pizza with Carnitas

Chilaquiles Rojos Con Camaron~ Zesty Shrimp Chilaquiles

If it were up to me, I seriously could eat Chilaquiles everday! Hearty, thick,  homemade corn tortilla chips tossed in a warm salsa and topped with a little crumbled mexican cheese and crema. Simply delicious. They can easily be served any time of day. Top with an over easy egg, instant brunch. Or toss is some shredded chicken, a layer of good melting cheese and you have a tasty and filling lunch or dinner. No need for any sides with this dish because it’s all about the toppings and layers of flavor one can create. So, do I eat Chilaquiles everday? No, I don’t. But that just makes preparing them all the more special. Once  a month, I will fry up a batch of chips and it’s a real treat. Today’s blog post was inpired by some tasty looking spice/seasoning blends I received from DennyMike’s via Cabot Cheese. The first  and only one I have tried so far was the Fintastic Savory Seafood Seasoning Blend. It’s right up my alley with flavors of onion, garlic, sea salt, lemon and lime. It was perfect for the shrimp I added to this plate of Chilaquiles Rojos con Camaron. 

Chilaquiles Rojos Con Camaron

Chilaquiles Rojos Con Camarones
For Shrimp
18 to 20 large shrimp. peeled and cleaned. Tails on, optional
Kosher salt
1 full tablespoon DennyMikes Finstastic seasoning
Olive oil
1 poblano, julienned
1 red fresno or jalapeño, diced or julienned
2/3 of a  small sweet onion, diced (reserve the other 1/3 for salsa)
2 cloves garlic, minced

Tips~ If you can’t find DennyMike’s blend, use your favorite blend for seafood or simply season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.

DennyMike's Fintastic Seasoning

 

Chipotle Guajillo Salsa Con Tomatillo

Chipotle Guajillo Salsa Con Tomatillo

 


For Salsa
3 guajillos(dried red chiles)
2 cloves garlic
1/3 sweet onion
5 tomatillos, washed
2 to 3 chipotles in adobo
1 to 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from chipotles
1/3 cup cooking liquid
salt to taste

*The picture above was the salsa before I strained it.

Chipotle Guajillo Salsa Con Tomatillo

Tips~ If you have the time, try toasting the chile guajillo for a few minutes on a dry skillet at medium heat. This will add more smoky flavor to your salsa.

You will also need
12 to 14 oz homemade chips (about 20 corn tortillas)
1 recipe for chipotle guajillo salsa, see recipe
1/3 to 1/2 cup mexican crema
1/2 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
chopped cilantro
lime wedges and avocado slices

Chilaquiles Rojos Con CamaronTips~ If you prefer, roast the poblano first to prepare rajas. Bonus flavor!

Totopos- Homemade Tortilla ChipsTips~ I normally bake my chips, but I have discovered that the baked ones get soggy quicker when I prepare chilaquiles. The fried version stays crispy alot longer. Both the fried and baked version of the chips can be found right on site.

Directions

1. Season the shrimp lighlty with kosher salt. Add Fintastic seasoning. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to combine. Cover and let marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

2. While shrimp marinates, prepare salsa. Remove the stems and seeds from chile guajillo. Rinse to wash off any dirt. Place guajillos, tomatillos, garlic and onion in a sauce pan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, add salsa ingredients to the blender. Also add the chipotles in adobo, adobo sauce, 1/3 cup coooking liquid and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth. If too thick, add a little more water. Strain through a wire strainer to remove and skins left from chiles. Set aside.

3. When ready pull shrimp from the refrigerator 20 minutes before cook time. Preheat 2 tablespoons olive oil to medium for 3 to 4 minutes. Cook shrimp for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan. To that same pan, add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Add the  onion, garlic, poblano and fresno pepper. Season lightly with spice blend or salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes. Add shrimp back in, fresh lime juice and toss to combine. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.


4. In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat to medium.  When hot, add the salsa from blender and cook for just 2 minutes.  Cover because it will pop all over. Fold in the chips  with warm salsa and coat evenly. Transfer to serving dish, top with shrimp.  Garnish with mexican crema, cotija cheese,  avocado, lime and cilantro. Yields 4 servings.

DennyMike's Fintastic Seafood Seasoning

My better half’s plate…no cheese and noooo to crema! He’s crazy! Lol!

Chilaquiles Rojos con Camarones

Tips~ No Mexican crema? I prepare my version of light crema with light sour cream, lime juice, water and salt to taste. I love it! Can’t find cotija cheese? Try some crumbled light feta, amazing!

Chilaquiles Rojos Con Camaron

Chilaquiles Rojos Con Camarones