Category: asparagus

I suppose if I were to subtitle this menu, it would be “Swedish Meatballs meet Stroganoff meets Chez Edouard” because the resulting main dish has elements of the first two but everything is transformed based on my own whims. The meatballs are made of ground turkey and the sauce is not typical of that for either the Swedish dish nor the stroganoff.

As a reminder, meatballs will be far more succulent and tender if you refrain from packing the meat during the rolling process and bake them in the oven as opposed to the stovetop method. Never overcook meatballs which inevitably leads to tough, unpalatable results.

Tonight I enriched the turkey with finely diced roasted red pepper along with minced shallots, garlic, and herbs. After removing the meatballs from the oven I tossed them in a pan with a sour cream-Dijon-rosemary sauce. Adding a small amount of cornstarch to the sour cream helps keep it from curdling, but even then it’s very important not to bring the sauce to a boil: simply heat it through.

Turkey meatballs and sautéed cremini mushrooms in a sour cream-Dijon-rosemary sauce served over housemade tagliatelle pasta
Steamed sugar snap peas and asparagus from the farmers’ market
Yeast roll Chez Edouard

Housemade peanut butter sandwich cookies


A Southern Menu

Inspired by a roadtrip to Charleston and Savannah several years ago, tonight’s menu features a different treatment of traditional meatloaf. While the basic recipe is essentially the same as most others, the difference relies on the fact that the loaf must be made in advance and chilled overnight until firm. Then, thick slices are heated and charred on an outdoor grill or stovetop grill pan. (If possible, I recommend the outdoor grill which helps impart a more smoky flavor and adds another layer of depth to the dish.) At the restaurant the slices were served with the standard gravy. In my variation, I have used a basting of barbeque sauce instead. The accompanying corn and asparagus salad is a staple at The Lady and Sons–Paula Deen’s restaurant in Savannah. And once again, while the meatloaf and salad take a bit of prep time, the beauty is that both MUST be made ahead of time, (ditto the dessert tartlets)–so there is little to do right before the meal.

Char-grilled meatloaf slices basted with barbeque sauce
Chilled corn and asparagus salad
Garlic mashed potatoes
Southern biscuit muffins

Lemon curd tartlet in a cookie crumb shell with a dollop of whipped cream

A Recipe for Sunday

Cream of Asparagus and Wild Rice Soup

Boil ½ cup of wild rice with 1 ½ cups water until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, break off the tough bottoms of ½ pound of young asparagus spears. (If you gently bend the spears, they will naturally break at the point where the toughness begins.) Discard the tough bottoms, then cut off the tips of the spears and reserve. Chop the remainder of the stalks into small rounds.

Next, finely dice 1 small shallot, 1 small carrot, ½ stalk of celery, and 1 small potato.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large soup pot, and sauté the shallot, carrot, celery, asparagus rounds, and potato for about 5-6 minutes over medium-low heat. Add 1 ½ cups water and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Transfer this mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. (If you use a blender, take care to vent the top.)

Return the pureed vegetable mixture to the soup pot and add the wild rice, along with 1 cup heavy cream and ½ cup water or vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and then add the asparagus tips. Cook for a few minutes over medium low heat just until the asparagus tips are crisp-tender.

Watch the progress of the soup carefully. You may need to add additional water or stock. When the mixture meets with your preference of consistency (either thick or thin), add 1 tablespoon dry sherry or brandy for extra flavor (optional, but highly recommended.) Adjust with salt and pepper as needed before serving. Makes 2-4 servings depending on appetite and accompaniments.

Copyright © 2013 by Eddie Kent Tallent

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