There’s nothing more ME than a recipe title with a spoiler alert. I’m going to let my geek flag fly just a little in this post, but first, in all seriousness, if you’re a watcher and you’re NOT caught up on Game of Thrones, SAVE THIS POST FOR LATER.
Ah, the rich, slightly pungent taste of betrayal. As both an avid reader and watcher of the Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire series, I knew what was about to go down on Sunday’s episode. And the hype leading up to it was nothing compared to the hysteria from unspoiled viewers that followed for the next 24 hours – even if you’ve never seen a minute of the show and have no interest whatsoever, you probably noticed that there was a bit of a kerfuffle. The dreaded Red Wedding.
Though I don’t get to do it nearly as often as I used to in my pre-child, more carefree life, I still get major kicks from thinking up and executing (COUGH) theme foods. Since I usually watch the show with a friend, I HAD to bring something special for this one. Red Velvet Wedding cupcakes were a thought, but then I thought of the great old classic Italian Wedding Soup, with meatballs and escarole. I just needed to bloody it up a little.
Traditionally, you usually stir an egg into the hot soup shortly before serving, like egg drop soup, but in my first batch (good thing it was delicious enough to eat 2 huge pots of it this week), I didn’t love the visual effect, nor did I think it added much to the flavor. Round two I added more tomato paste and omitted the egg: perfect. As-is, it’s totally paleo, ’cause that’s just how I roll these days, but feel free to add breadcrumbs or Parmesan if you prefer.
Bring this to the season finale next week and curse the Freys, Lannisters (save for Tyrion) and the Boltons as you savor the savory. Take heart, gentle viewers: The North Remembers*.
RED WEDDING SOUP
1 pound ground meat (I used half beef, half lamb. As in to the slaughter.)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup almond meal/flour (or breadcrumbs)
8 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon salt
zest and juice of one lemon (used separately)
1 6 ounce can tomato paste, divided
2 tablespoons oil/fat of your choice
1 onion, diced
8 cups chicken stock
1 bunch red chard, stemmed and roughly chopped
additional salt and fresh pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425. Combine meats, beaten egg, almond meal, 4 cloves of the minced garlic, and nutritional yeast together in a marge mixing bowl. Add oregano, basil, salt and pepper, lemon zest, and one tablespoon of the tomato paste. Mix thoroughly by hand. Shape into meatballs (I love using a cookie dough scooper for consistent size and then smoothing them by rolling between my palms) and place on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until starting to brown on the outside, while you prepare the bloodba- er, broth. Don’t worry about them being cooked all the way through, they will get a little more cooking time when you add them into the soup.
In a large soup pot, heat your fat and then saute the onion until translucent and soft, just barely starting to brown. Add remaining garlic and cook a few more minutes. Stir in the remaining tomato paste and mix in well. Pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer. Add in meatballs and cook together for 15 to 20 minutes. Add in chard and lemon juice and cook for another 10 minutes, until chard is tender but still bright green.
Take a moment to give thanks to the old gods and the new, and ladle it into bowls with the broth just a little low, so the meatballs are visible. Serve immediately, because valar dohaeris.
— posted by Anne “Go Targaryens (and Arya)!” Tegtmeier
* Not a smug book-reader spoiler at all, just a reminder of hope.