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Keeping on defrosting my mom’s freezers I discovered another wonderful piece of meat: veal cheek. Ok, I know it could sound not really appealing but trust me, it is worth it to give it a try! This cut is incredibly cheap, as it is almost considered a scrap…but for the ones who know, it is a great alternative, soft and very tasty. As long as the weather changed and temperatures went down lately, I was craving something warm and comforting…so I decided to make a Goulash Soup! This is a traditional Hungarian dish, which is basically a stew made with beef or veal, tomatoes, potatoes and paprika (a lot of paprika!!). Stews usually take a long time to be cooked but I am always in a hurry…that’s why I cheated a bit using a pressure cooker 🙂 It took me half time but the result was excellent anyway! To serve my Goulash I used some mini-cocottes (French cast-iron casseroles)…because looks also counts!

Goulash Soup made with pressure cooker

Goulash Soup made with pressure cooker_ Paprika Red

Ingredients:

  • 1,5 pound veal cheek (or beef for stew)
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 4 tbs oil
  • 1 big onion
  • 16 oz canned tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh, then squeezed)
  • 1 tbs paprika (2 if you like it hot)
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove fresh garlic)
  • 1 tbs all purpose flour
  • 3 potatoes chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Let butter and oil melt in your pressure cooker. In the meantime chop veal cheeks into big chunks (about 1x1inch) and mince the onion. Put them into the pressure cooker and make them brown slightly (2-3 min)
  2. Sprinkle with flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Add paprika, cumin, garlic powder and tomatoes. Adjust with salt (don’t be afraid to add a good amount of it!) and add half cup of water. Close the pressure cooker and count 30 minutes from the whistle.
  3. Additional: In the meantime peel and cut potatoes and once meat is ready open the pressure cooker (be careful and respect the procedure to do that) and add potatoes. Close again and count 5 min from the whistle.
  4. Once ready, if the consistency is still too liquid make it go on medium heat, stirring until you reach the right result. If you desire an even creamier soup add a tablespoon of corn starch, previously melted in little cold water and stir on heat for about 2-3 min.

Lately my mother asked me to help cleaning her freezers (yeah plural, cause she has two of them!). It could sound effortless but, trust me, they are full of everything and it’s kinda titanic trying to clear them up. That meant she started pulling out some huge pieces of frozen meat and I had to cook them. As long as I’m not ‘the master of meat cooking’ I picked an easy thing to do: polpette (the Italian name for meatballs)! I preferred to cook a lighter version, so I opted for a baked recipe. I know, fried polpette are amazing but: 1) I hate frying cause of the stink 2) It’s really not healthy 3) If I have to become fat, I prefer eating a big piece of cake ;)I didn’t want to follow the traditional version slavishly, so I cut off parsley and added some curry. Despite what one could think, these meatballs taste really yummy and are crunchy on the outside even if they aren’t fried. They are really good either hot or at room temperature and, of course, with some tomatoes sauce!

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Ingredients:

– 4 slices white sandwich bread, torn into small cubes
– 4 tablespoons milk
– 1,3 pound ground beef
– 3 eggs, lightly beaten
– 4 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
– 1 teaspoon curry
– 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (if desired)

– 1/2 cup Bread crumbs

– Salt to taste

– Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a roasting pan or a baking sheet with parchment. Place the bread and milk into a small bowl, mix together and set aside.
  2. Place the meatloaf mix into a large bowl and add the egg (previously slightly beaten), Parmesan cheese, curry and garlic powder. Add some salt to taste (be careful though: Parmesan is already salty!). Mix together using your hands or a wooden spoon.
  3. Squeeze any excess milk from the bread and crumble it into tiny pieces. Add the bread to the meat mixture and mix again. –> If you think the mix looks too wet add some bread crumbs, till you reach a good consistency and can easily form a ball.
  4. Take the right amount of meat to form a golf ball and roll your meatballs. Place them on the greased pan and sprinkle with bread crumbs; add a drizzle of olive oil on each one and bake for 20 minutes, until meatballs are browned and cooked through.

 

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