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Snow Day - Spanish Hot Chocolate!!!

Winter Melon Soup with Meatballs


The start of the New Year has been a cold one. The 'bomb cyclone' delivered about a foot of snow and arrived on strong blistering cold winds. This cold weather can mean only one thing in our house...soup's for dinner, and lunch if it's a weekend! It seemed fitting given the crazy cold weather we've been dealing with to warm ourselves up with a soup who's key ingredient is named after the season, Winter Melon.

Courtesy of Specialtyproduce.com
Winter Melon, also known as ash gourd, wax gourd, pethakaddu, boodida gummadikaaya, and kumbalanga; is a gourd that is native to Southeast Asia. Used in both sweet and savory dishes, you can find the vegetable in local Asian markets. The immature melon has thick white flesh that is sweet but once mature, the fruit develops a waxy coating giving it a long shelf life. The mature fruit's taste is neutral which is perfect for picking up a variety of flavorings. It is also full of vitamin C, almost twice as much as Chayote.

This hearty and quick soup is the perfect comfort food after a long cold day. The vegetable soup can stand on its own if you don't have the time or inclination to make the meatballs. There have been days that I'redone without the meatballs, and the soup was still delicious and satisfying.

Here is my recipe for Winter Melon Soup with Meatballs:

Winter Melon Soup with Meatballs
Serves 4-6
Ingredients :
1 lb Winter Melon, cubed
2 Carrots, julienned
4 Scallions, Thinly Sliced
1 small bunch of Cilantro
2 tsp Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp Garlic Ginger Paste
6 Cups Vegetable Stock*
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 lb Ground Pork
1 Large Egg
1/2 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Shaoxing Wine*

*If you can't find, substitute with Pale Dry Sherry

Directions: 

To Make Meatballs: 
1. Stir together pork, 1 of the scallions, 1 Tbsp of garlic ginger paste, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 Tbsp Shaoxing Wine, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, egg, 1/4 of the cilantro, and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Mix well and make into 18-20 meatballs.






To Make the Soup:
1. Heat 1 tsp sesame oil in a stockpot; add 1 Tbsp of garlic ginger paste and sauté until fragrant. Then add vegetable stock.

2. When the soup begins to boil add the meatballs one at a time and allow them to boil until they float. Then remove and hold for latter.



3. When the soup returns to a boil add the Winter Melon and cook for ~5 minutes then add carrots remaining scallions, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp Shaoxing Wine, and 1 tsp pepper.



3. Bring soup back to a boil before adding meatballs and cilantro. Simmer, uncovered, gently stirring, for about 3 minutes.





Enjoy!





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