Saturday, January 14, 2012

That Same Old Filling

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Having recently made two dishes that required stuffing, there is always the certainty that I have an extra stuffing or filling mixture that begs to be consumed. If the filling is fully cooked, then I usually end up just eating it as the main dish with a steamed bowl of rice. If however the filling mixture has some raw components to it, it is best that the mixture is frozen as soon as possible and thawed when a plan to repurpose it has been made.

To prove my point, I was left with about 2 cups of thick Bolongnese Ragu used as a filling for my stuffed rice balls or Arancini. This is a simple fix since all that is needed is to dilute the ragu with 1 cup of pasta water and you have an instant sauce to dress a pound of dried pasta. Just make sure that about 5 minutes before reaching the al dente stage, simmer the ragu with the pasta water over medium heat in a large sauce pan and once simmering, finish cooking the pasta in the sauce. To complete the dish, off the heat, add a handful of parmesan cheese and a drizzling of good olive oil with a few tablespoons of chopped parsley and you have an instant Italian pasta dish prepared in less than 15 minutes.

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
My second filling to repurpose is actually also not too difficult to work with since it is made up of pork sausage, diced ham and grated vegetables. It is also already bound with eggs before being used as a stuffing for my Chicken Galantina so the main concern is how it held up during the freeze/thaw process. If it gets watery upon thawing, you can drain the liquid and if it is still a bit mushy, add some bread crumbs until it holds its shape together. At this point, you can easily mold them into balls for frying. Following the the basic steps for frying meatballs, step one is to dredge them first in seasoned flour. Step two is dunking them in an egg wash which is really beaten eggs with a bit of water to thin them out. Last step is dredging the balls again in bread crumbs before frying them in canola oil until golden brown.

One concern when making meatballs is to be careful of what is inside the mix. Since raw sausage is included in the filling mix, do not make them too big as the insides might be raw by the time the outside has turned golden brown. So an inch or so size of meatballs is ideal or another trick is to cook them over medium low heat to give it enough time to cook on the inside. Once cooked, drain them on paper towels and at this point, you can either eat the meatballs as is or you can also add them to the Bolongese pasta dish. Either way, they are delicious and you managed to not throw away not just one but two perfectly reusable extra food.

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