Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Meatball Soup and Harmony Valley Vegetarian Hamburger Mix Review...

Why on earth would I make soup on a humid 82 degree October day? Because it seemed easier than coming up with something requiring a bit more creativity. 
I was apparently online shopping while hungry a few months ago. And Spencer's Market (a vegan mecca) was offering free shipping if I spent $50.00. So, being the kind of bargain hunter that I am, when what I really wanted was some of their delicious looking vegan candy, and had emotionally spent $15.00 on candy to share with my honey, I only needed to spend $35.00 more to score free shipping. That's when I found this.  Now, part of me, in my crazed shopping mindset thought that a dehydrated bag of hamburger was going to be somewhat disappointing. But. I bought two and two of their sausage mixes, too. I mean, at $5.00 a bag they would work as expensive dog treats if fails, right? 

Tonight was the night to use one of these bad boys up. And, dang, I think I'm kind of a fan. (On a side note, the dogs were very interested and were completely willing to lick the bowl, clean off my hand and pick up the stray morsels that occasionally hit the they would be a-okay with this as a dog treat, but that's not happening.) 

It's a textured dry powder. You add a cup and 1/4 (I think) of cold water, stir and let hang out in the fridge for awhile. I preheated the oven to 375 and then, when the burger mix was ready, I rolled it into meatballs and baked them for 23 minutes. Easy Peasy. The raw texture was pretty burger like, almost freakishly so. And they tasted good right out of the oven without any sauce. Not exactly super burgery, but really close,  Of note, I never ate hamburger that wasn't smothered in sauce or mustard when I was a meat eater, so I'm not sure I'm the best judge of that. Also, of note, a vegan meatball that mushes in the mouth is nasty. I want something that bites back a little, that gives some texture. A vegan burger that, when you bite, burger oozes out the bun...ugh, ick. And these meatballs, they had some nice texture. Next time, I will spray the pan a bit because I didn't and they stuck a little.

Here was the acid test for me and the meatball. A soup. Hmmm. Would they disintegrate? 

Meatball Soup (serves 2 to 3 depending on sides and appetites)

6 Cups vegetable broth
1/2 large small dice onion
3 stalks small dice celery
3 medium to large potatoes medium dice
salt and pepper to taste
15-20 vegan meatballs

Seriously. Simple. I put all the veggies in the veggie broth and cooked until the potatoes were almost tender (20 minutes or so) while my meatballs were baking. Then I tossed the meatballs in the soup and finished cooking it for 15 minutes or so until all the veggies were super tender. 

The meatballs did not simmer apart, fully intact meatballs. And the soup tasted really good. Rob even said it was amazing and that he thought he could fool some meat-lovers with it. And he's a pretty tough customer to win over with a meat substitute. So. Even though the hamburger mix is processed and a cheater meal, I'm going to have a few on hand. Because sometimes you don't want to reinvent the wheel and dirty the food processor, sometimes you just want to eat some satisfying simple food. And that's exactly what you get with this one. 

I'll let you know when I make the sausage.