A couple of recipes…

Yesterday, we had our usual panfried pork chops and kale for dindin after coming home from picking up Eggnog in the crazy snowy weather. The autobody shop was super nice in agreeing to putting on my winter tires when The Hubbs asked if it would be possible. They certainly didn’t have to do it and they get super huge thumbs up from a customer service standpoint.

But back to dindin — I made the usual pork chops, kale with garlic and panfried gnocchi along with some leftover chicken gravy from last week’s roast chicken.

It’s the gnocchi that totally blew me away last night. The day I went for my flu shot, a couple weeks ago, I had lunch at Sunterra Market, then I cruised around the store and picked up a few items that I needed and a few that piqued my interest. During that trip, I picked up a couple of packets of Scarpone’s shelf-stable gnocchi. I’ve tried making gnocchi at home from scratch (several times, in fact) with rather dire results. I suck at gnocchi.

Generally speaking, one is supposed to boil gnocchi and then toss it in with some sauce. Having watched Nigella’s Kitchen episode of Lamb with Rosemary & Port served with Rapid Roastini, I took her idea of just frying the gnocchi instead of boiling them.

The recipe for the gnocchi is more of a method than a proper recipe — you just drop the gnocchi straight from the packet into the hot frying pan with the residual meat juices and to that, I added an extra little bit of olive oil and little bit of minced garlic. The gnocchi was stirred all around to get coated in all the juices, then I left them alone for a few minutes to brown nicely. After a few minutes of browning, I added a splosh of water to the pan, covered it with a lid and let them steam for a few minutes longer until I was happy with the texture and then served up.

The porkchops I had left to keep warm in my awesome toaster oven and the kale I had been keeping warm on the stove, the whole meal probably took not even 30 minutes to cook from start to serving. (Have I mentioned how much I wuvs my new toaster oven? ;D )

Crazy, crazy good meal and I’m still boggled at how tasty the gnocchi were when fried on the stove in 10 minutes.

I think that the gnocchi may just become my starch of choice for panfried porkchops and rice the unarguable choice for when I make tonkatsu.

Sunday dindin I experimented with ground bison.

When I was growing up, I always wanted Mom to make spaghetti and meatballs, but she never did. She either made spaghetti sauce with ground beef (boooring, not to mention rather tasteless, in my opinion) or she made it with beef short ribs (my absolute fave and would so be a contender for “last meal” wish), but never, ever, meatballs. I think she always said it was just too much work.

Bright and early, in my world, I made a batch of bison meatballs and set them in the crockpot with a bottle of spaghetti sauce to simmer away all day long. The prep was minimal (though very, very cold!) and the results were fantastic. Love, love, loved them. My biggest worry when they were cooking was that because there’s so little fat in bison, they would be dried out and tasteless even though they would be simmering all day in sauce. I’m so glad they didn’t completely disintegrate into a pile of mush, either. They were just the perfect tenderness when you cut into them with your fork while still retaining its shape.

The meal was just an all around pleasing affair with the bison balls sitting on top of a bowl of spaghetti, a little bit of parmesan cheese sprinkled everywhere like snow and a few slices of warm & crusty garlic bread to mop up the residual sauce.

It’s funny, thinking about it, I’ve only ever had pasta with meatballs once in my life and it was at this tiny little restaurant almost 10 years ago, where they served only 2 items: penne with tomato sauce for $5 or penne with sausage/meatballs for $6, both came with salad. The sausages I remember being spicy and I think the meatballs were rather bland, so by comparison, my recipe is rather awesome.

Unfortunately I didn’t actually measure the ingredients that I put into the recipe, but I assume it’s a pretty standard-esque recipe for meatballs or maybe even meatloaf, so use your own expertise on the quantities and maybe be a little conservative when adding your breadcrumbs just so you don’t make a dried out ball of meat, mine were actually pretty gooshy when I put them into the crockpot.

Bison Balls
1lb ground bison
1 egg
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (or more to taste)
panko
minced garlic
dried onion flakes
dried oregano
dried parsley
salt & pepper
bayleaf
1 bottle of your fave spaghetti sauce (I used a sausage & red pepper sauce)

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients, except spaghetti sauce, together with your hands until well blended.
Form mixture into ~16-18 balls and set aside.
In a small crockpot, mix spaghetti sauce, some extra minced garlic, dried onion flakes and the bayleaf.
Add ~1/3 jar of water swished out of the bottle to the sauce mixture and mix well.
Drop meatballs into the sauce and gently push them to the bottom of the crockpot, covering with sauce if possible.
Cover crockpot and cook on high about 6+ hours.
Serve over spaghetti with garlic bread for dipping.

240 200F

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