Well after four years in Manhattan it finally happened… Connecticut stole me away. Over the summer I was offered a “fancy” job in Stamford and couldn’t refuse. Between this new opportunity and another massive rent increase, I decided it was time to make the move I always assumed I would eventually make.
There was a lot of stress, tears and torment about whether I was making the right choice, but after a month in my new home I’m finally feeling content and settled. I miss my little midtown studio, but now I have my big swanky kitchen with a real live dishwasher and actual drawers and counter space! I adore having the availability to cook now – I mean really cook (like use all of my baking dishes and glass bowls for one meal). I got to the point in New York where I was just ordering from Seamless and pre-made meals from Fresh Direct, all while using paper plates and hating myself for it. I managed to over indulge in my favorite foods and restaurants before leaving permanently.
One of our favorite “new” places to nosh back in the “old days” was The Meatball Shop down in Greenwich Village. A mix and match menu offering a “create your own” meal focused around homemade meatballs and sauces. My absolute favorite was the spicy pork meatball slider with mushroom gravy. Every bite (which was usually only 4) was a combination of salty, spicy, comfort food perfection. I had to get their cookbook.
While I think the New York Public Library is wonderful, it would often take a very long time to receive anything held in the inter-library loan system… if ever. I requested The Meatball Shop cookbook in March or April and just knew I wouldn’t get it before moving. Luckily my new library offers inter-loan throughout the entire state of Connecticut and it only took 5 days to get my hands on the precious MSC.
I haven’t had much time or energy during the week for preparing full meals, so this past weekend it was a must. Fighting the masses, I headed to Whole Foods Saturday afternoon (which was absolute heaven compared to NYC) to gather my ingredients. How much I love Whole Foods is another blog entry waiting to happen/be forgotten about.
Aside from the time to cut up mushrooms and onion, these recipes are honestly really simple to make and not terribly time consuming. Here it is: spicy pork meatball with mushroom gravy goodness.
I suggest starting the mushroom gravy first – while it’s cooking, you have plenty of time to prepare and cook the meatballs. The amount of mushrooms and especially 4 cups of chicken stock seem excessive, but trust me – it all cooks down to just enough for a dozen meatballs!
Adapted from The Meatball Shop Cookbook
¼ cup olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thinly (and some chopped)
½ tablespoon salt
1 pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced or chopped
2/3 cup of white wine (I used chardonnay as it was on hand)
4 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup flour
Pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in large saucepan on medium heat. Add onions and salt, stirring constantly (or almost constantly) until the onions have become soft and translucent – about 10 minutes.
Add mushrooms and cook until almost all of their liquid has evaporated – about 12 minutes. Add white wine and continue cooking until the pan is almost dry. Add the chicken stock and cook until reduced by half – about 35 minutes.
Combine butter and flour and mix together until a paste is formed. Add paste to simmering gravy and whisk until paste has completely dissolved and gravy has thickened. Stir in pepper to taste.
Spicy Pork Meatballs
|Before and after.... Delicious.|
Makes about 14 meatballs
1 pound ground pork
½ tablespoon salt
¼ cup sliced jarred hot cherry peppers, minced
3 tablespoons hot cherry pepper pickling liquid
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray 9” glass baking dish with my friend Pam.
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand, very intimately, until thoroughly incorporated. Add more bread crumbs if mixture is too moist.
Rolls mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Place meatballs in prepared baking dish, making sure they’re lined up snugly (making sure they’re touching each other).
Roast/bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving with that beautiful mushroom gravy.
Take a page (or seven) out of The Meatball Shop Cookbook.