Let’s face it, late winters can be a little miserable. Local fresh ingredients are hard to come by and even the cellar beets, carrots, turnips, and potatoes are not what they used to be. This hearty soup is an entire meal that can be made with local ingredients even in the dead of winter and it’s bursting with vitamins and warmth.
Jar of old world style pickled cucumbers such as half sours
Jar of pickled beets
Bay leaf, hot paprika, black pepper, garlic, and salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
One or two pounds of ground pork
Optional: two potatoes (diced), half a cup of rice, or half a cup of orzo pasta
How to cook
Reserving the pickled cucumbers for use with your sandwiches, pour the brine into a stock pan and add the pickled beets with their brine, a whole onion (if you don’t cut the top off, it will not disintegrate and will be easy to remove later), bay leaf, potatoes (if using), and two cups of water. Bring to the boil.
While the stock is boiling prepare the meatballs by mixing up the ground pork with the raw egg, baking soda, garlic (to taste, roughly one clove), hot paprika and black pepper (about half a teaspoon each and a good teaspoon of salt. You can check the meatball seasoning by first cooking one meatball in the broth and tasting it. Adjusting the seasoning as needed, proceed to make meatballs two to three centimeters (about one inch) in diameter and drop them in the boiling broth keeping it on high flame as you make them. Once done and the stock is on roiling boil, cover the stockpot, reduce the heat to low and cook for no less than half an hour to ensure that the meatballs are done. Then discard the onion, test the broth for seasoning and adjust as needed. If using rice or orzo pasta, add them at this point and cook until done. Serve and enjoy.