What’s For Dinner?
Mexican Meatball Soup with Rice and Cilantro
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
IN THE KITCHEN WITH . . . / DON WYRICK, MARIETTA:
MAIN DISH: Mexican Meatball Soup with Rice and Cilantro
Nominated by Melissa Wardlaw:
"Don Wyrick is a master chef and all-around great stepdad. I call him the 'caring cook' because he is always trying to please. I am very appreciative of him for taking care of my mother --- one of the ways in which he does this is through his cooking. In her first marriage, she had to do all of the cooking and housework. Now she is able to enjoy gourmet meals from a man who loves to make them for her.
"He is always trying something new. He watches Emeril [Lagasse] on the Food Network. He subscribes to Bon Appetit magazine. He has multiple cookbooks, and pulls numerous recipes off the Internet. All this in search of that perfect dish to make others happy."
Don Wyrick got creative in the kitchen early in life out of necessity. When his mother was widowed, with eight kids to feed, she had to work, and the kids were responsible for a lot of the cooking. With basic ingredients, the kids managed to whip up some pretty interesting, often adventurous and frequently delicious chow.
That sense of adventure and fun Wyrick experienced in the kitchen as a kid has stayed with him, and he generously imparts it to family and friends.
Hands on time: 20 minutes Total time: 40 minutes Serves: 8
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 3/4 cups finely chopped onion (divided use)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 small bay leaves
5 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup chunky medium tomato salsa
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (divided use)
1 large egg
1 pound lean ground sirloin
1/4 pound ground pork or 1 link mild Italian sausage
6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
Salt and pepper to taste
Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat egg. Add beef, pork, cornmeal, milk, salt, pepper and cumin and stir to combine. Add garlic and remaining 1 cup onion and 1/4 cup cilantro. Stir well to combine. Shape meat mixture into 1- to 1 1/4-inch balls. Add rice to soup and stir to combine. Add meatballs and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice and meatballs are tender, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.