Archive | March 12th, 2014

Lentil and Escarole Soup with Lamb Meatballs

Lentil and Escarole Soup with Lamb Meatballs

This soup is based on a recipe we found and another from Martha Stewart. Both looked very good and one was vegan.

But, I also needed to use a half-pound of ground lamb that we had on hand, had no carrots, had chicken broth but not enough tomato as was called for and cannellini beans (canned) looked like a good idea, too. So, as one might guess, the original recipe(s) morphed into something else entirely.

You can make the meatballs ahead of time, or you can make them as the soup is simmering and the lentils are cooking.

Leave out the chicken broth and use a vegetable broth, and skip the lamb meatballs and cheese and you’ll have a vegetarian recipe that makes a good one-pot meal as well.

French Lentils


Lentil and Escarole Soup with Lamb Meatballs croppedLentil and Escarole Soup with Lamb Meatballs

1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium clove garlic, finely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup French green lentils or other type of lentil
1 quart chicken broth
1/2  bay leaf
1 can whole tomatoes, cut into small dice (use the juice, too)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 escarole, cored and cut crosswise into 1-inch strips
Lamb Meatballs (see recipe below)
1 can cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano, manchego)

Lamb Meatballs
1/2 pound ground lamb
2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 small clove garlic, diced
1 tablespoon diced onion
1 teaspoon minced cilantro plus cilantro for soup garnish, if desired
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
Pinch ground black pepper

For the Soup: In a stockpot, melt butter or heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and carrot, and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add lentils along with the quart of chicken broth and 1 cup water and bring to boil, then simmer for about a half hour, or until the lentils are just tender. Then, add  bay leaf, tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes or so. Then stir escarole into soup, and cook a few minutes more — just until it wilts, but still is a bright green.

Add hot, cooked Lamb Meatballs to soup along with the cannellini beans and stir. Adjust seasonings, and serve in four bowls topped with a sprinkle of the grated cheese, some cilantro (if desired) and a drizzle of good olive oil.

For Lamb Meatballs: Mix together all ingredients well and form into 12 medium-small meatballs. Fry in a heavy-bottomed skillet or put on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or so. You want them cooked through, but remember they will also be simmering in the soup.

Makes 6-8 servings.

From Bonnie Walker

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Chef Co-op Powers Up for ‘Tejas’ Theme Benefit Dinner

Chef Co-op Powers Up for ‘Tejas’ Theme Benefit Dinner

An ambitious menu from some of the city’s hardest-working chefs is coming up Saturday, March 22.

From Flame-Roasted Goat “Porchetta” to Pomegranate Grilled Bandera Quail, the menu the Chef Cooperative dinner is inspired by Texas-produced ingredients and promises some great flavors out at the hosting restaurant, Tejas Steakhouse Saloon and Rodeo Company, 401 Obst Road, Bulverde.

Bandera quail a Texas-grown product.

Bandera quail a Texas-grown product.

The benefit is for Mesquite Field Farm, a first-generation family farm producing rotationally grazed grass-fed beef and other products. The farm is southeast of San Antonio near Nixon, and you can read more on their website here.

Karbach Brewery, Dorcal Distilling Co. and Rebecca Creek Distillery join Texas wines from Chisholm Trail Winery in the menu’s food-beverage pairings as well.

The lineup of those cooperating in the meal includes Jeff White, Heather Nañez, Stephen Paprocki, Chris Cook, Issac Cantu, James Canter, Tyler Horstmann, Melissa Beverage, James Canter and more. Plus, drink masters Jeret Peña and Christopher Ware will have had a hand in on the cocktail side.

The Chef Cooperative, according to its mission statement, seeks to “… actively promote the health and prosperity of South Central Texas farms through an innovative approach to (and inspired by) the “Farm to Table” movement.” They see the chef-farmer relationship as cyclical, in which collaboration between the two is mutually beneficial.

“We, as chefs, want to give back to the farmers, not only through the purchasing of their goods, but also through the systematic return of all proceeds collected from a series of events designed to showcase the bounty of local farms,” they say.

The benefit on Saturday, March 22, begins with a reception from 5:30-6 p.m. Tickets ($95.82 per person) may be purchased at the Chef Cooperative website here.

Chef Cooperative full logo cropped



Menu for Mesquite Family Farm Benefit Dinner

Reception: “Cattle Drive Chili” with Smoked Jalapeño Cornbread, Crème Fraiche and Pickled Texas Onions: Stephen Paprocki and Alex Altamirano. With: Weekend Warrior, Weisse Versa Wheat, Rodeo Clown from Karbach Brewery

First Course: Open Flame-Roasted Goat Porcetta with Natural Jus accompanied by Salt- and Pepper-Rolled Mushrooms by  Jeff White and Tobias Soto. With Barn Burner Saison (beer) from Karbach Brewery

Shrimp and OystersSecond Course: Beeman Ranch Barbecue Beef Tongue and Hilltop Place Goat Sausage by Chris Cook and Heather Nañez. With  2011 Blanc du Bois from Chisholm Trail Winery.

Third Course: Devils on a Horseback — Grilled Texas Gulf Jumbo Shrimp and Oyster Wrapped in Mesquite Smoked Bacon with Home-Grown Tart and Spiced Greens, by Michelada Gel, Isaac Cantu and James Canter.  With 2012 Blanc Du Bois from Chisholm Trail Winery.

Fourth Course: Pomegranate-Glazed Grilled Bandera Quail, Griddled Naan and Assorted Mouneh, from Zach Lutton and Laurent Rae. With Cabernet Sauvignon from Chisholm Trail Winery.

Intermezzo: “A Fizz” by Jeret Pena using Rebecca Creek Whiskey

Fifth Course: Double-Smoked Beef Shank, Green Chile Polenta and Drunken Rattlesnake, by Tyler Horstmann and Kathy Pullin. With Lone Wolf Lenoir from Chisholm Trail Winery.

Dessert: Dutch Oven Texas Peach Cobbler, Peach Vodka, Ginger Cinnamon Gelato by Melissa Beverage and James Whitson

Dessert Cocktail: “Serbian Cowboy Coffee” from Christopher Ware with Dorcol Distilling Co. Rakia and Ferra Coffee from Christopher Ware.





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