A quick, nourishing soup of meatballs and beef broth
Peel and grate 250g of celeriac. Brown 250g of good-quality meatballs in a little oil in a smallish, deep-sided pan. When they are sizzling and evenly coloured, add four spring onions, roughly chopped, and cook for a minute or two until the onions have softened, then add the grated celeriac and continue cooking briefly. Add six little sprigs of thyme, then pour in 500ml of beef stock. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Check the seasoning – it may need pepper and perhaps a little salt – then shake 40g of parmesan over the top. Place under a hot grill until the cheese starts to colour. Serves 2.
Get the oil hot before you add the meatballs, so they brown quickly, and move them gently round the pan as they colour to prevent them breaking up. Once the stock has come to the boil, lower the heat to a simmer so that the meatballs cook gently. If the liquid boils for too long, the meatballs will collapse.
You can buy readymade meatballs from good butchers and supermarkets. If you want to make your own use 500g of finely minced beef with a little salt, pepper and a pinch of ground mace. Use allspice if you prefer. Roll into balls about 2cm in diameter and leave for a good hour to firm up in the fridge before using. If celeriac isn't your thing, try parsnip, or even carrot.
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image: © Alice Carrier