I’ve been in a cooking funk. Nothing sounds good. I figured I’ve cooked over 14,200 meals in my lifetime and I still have times when I don’t want to cook a thing for dinner and I can’t think of anything that sounds good. When a cooking funk hits me it’s off to the library to check out some mouth-watering cookbooks, hoping for some inspiration.
The trip to the library didn’t disappoint. I’ve been pouring over The Cancer Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson. She specializes in meeting the specific nutritional and appetite needs of cancer patients. Her goal is to maximize their treatment benefits while minimizing their side effects and improve the outcome, through diet. Her desire is to have “great taste and great nutrition show up joyously on the same plate”. She transforms real food into masterpieces bringing beauty, nutrition and taste all together.
The authors strong sense of compassion draws me into this book that combines the science of healthy nutrition plus heart and soul wisdom. This is a great resource for anyone’s kitchen, but it’s a MUST if you have a close family member or friend undergoing cancer treatment. The recipes are useful for everyday healthy cooking and it has additional nutritional info for the culinary pharmacy.
The ginger is what got my attention in this recipe. It’s a delicious addition to turkey and chicken based soups and I often put in our Thanksgiving gravy. The meatballs are made with ground turkey with uncooked Basmati rice acts as a bonding agent in place of bread crumbs. The meatballs are simmered in a richly flavored broth which cooks the rice through and the meatballs in turn, add more flavor to the soup.
So, here you have it from The Cancer Fighting Kitchen; Chicken Vegetable Soup with Ginger Meatballs.
1 pound ground organic turkey or chicken
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of cayenne
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup uncooked white Basmati rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped small
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped small
1 large celery stalk, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
8 cups chicken stock (I had homemade turkey stock in my freezer that I used)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1 lime, quartered for garnish
Beginning with the mini meatballs, line a sheet pan with wax paper or parchment paper. Combine the turkey, ginger, garlic, parsley, salt, cayenne, egg, and rice in a bowl and mix until well combined. Don’t overwork the mixture or the meatballs will be tough. When done correctly, they turn out juicy and tender.
Wet the palms of your hands so the mixture doesn’t stick, roll it into 1 – inch balls, and place them on the prepared pan.
To make the soup, heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion and a pinch of salt. Saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, garlic, ginger and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and continue sauteing for 3 more minutes.
Pour 1/2 cup of the chicken stock to deglaze the pot and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the remaining 7 1/2 cups of stock and another 1/4 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer, then gently transfer half of the meatballs into the simmering broth. (Refrigerate or freeze the remainder to use later.) Cover and allow the meatballs to simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the peas and cook for 3 minutes more, then stir in the parsley and fresh basil. Serve each bowl garnished with a wedge of lime.
This bowl of comfort is perfect for the cool, wet, spring – like weather we’re enjoying in the northwest!
If you aren’t a pea fan, use this recipe as an opportunity to get some dark leafy greens into your life. Simply replace the peas with 1 cup of baby spinach leaves.
Make it a meal in a bowl by adding noodles to the broth in the last 10 minutes of cooking to add more substance.
And that’s it for now. Enjoy!