Friday, November 30, 2007

Warming up with a comforting meatball stew before the big storm...

Around this same time last year while we were living back in Maryland, we did our monthly trip (it was a fairly far drive) to Trader Joe's and came across one of their new seasonal products. We only got one box and quickly snacked our way through it - we decided to make an early trip back a couple weeks later only to find they had sold out a week earlier and they just could not keep up with the demand.

Neither of us forgot about the item and when I saw Jeff do a little happy dance (a sight to be seen!) when we went to the Minneapolis (St. Louis Park actually) Trader Joe's this past weekend, I knew exactly what he found!

They make their "house" version of Oreo's called Joe Joe's (fitting if I do say so myself!) in a few different flavors, but these limited candy cane ones are so good! There is just enough filling, somewhere between a regular Oreo and a double stuffed, between the two crisp cookies and that filling is laced with little peppermint crunchies. We bought a couple boxes and I have a feeling we should probably get a couple extra to hide so we can enjoy them throughout the season - I'd love to give these a try in those Oreo Truffle Balls, dipping them in dark chocolate instead, and dusting the tops with a bit of crushed candy canes!

We are expecting a big snow storm this weekend (or so they say...) and the winds are really howling tonight - thankfully I had already planned to have this Hungarian Meatball Stew which warmed us right up.

Lean ground sirloin is bound together with bread crumbs, an egg and garlic - once combined, the meat is divided into 1 1/2" meatballs. The meatballs are browned in two batches to allow each round to get a golden caramelized crust. Carrots, onions and celery are diced up and added to the oil and juices left behind from the meatballs - while allowing the vegetables to soften, this also gives you a chance to get any of those savory little bits off of the bottom of the pan. So the sauce of the stew has some body, a couple tablespoons of flour are added, along with the same amount of sweet paprika, and allowed to briefly cook to lose that flour-y taste.

Beef broth is the liquid of choice as it brings such a rich depth to the sauce - once the broth has been added and comes to a boil, pungent caraway seeds are tossed in, along with the meatballs, to add a flavor very reminiscent of rye bread. After bubbling for a few minutes to warm everything through, we portioned the stew out over buttered egg noodles to round out the meal. Adding the noodles made this so hearty and comforting - with lots of "Mmmm..." sounds coming from Jeff as he ate, this recipe will definitely be made again, especially in the dead of winter.


  1. That winter storm is headed our way too. The winds are picking up here, but it's not supposed to be here until Saturday night into Sunday. It's supposed to be a wintry mix which would be extra yucky.

  2. Oops - I hit publich before I said to keep warm and stay cozy during the bad weather........

  3. My family loves the joe joe's. Every year we have chocolate covered oreos in our cookie gift tins and we came across these last year! What other flavors do they make?? I haven't seen any besides these.

  4. I saw this at my local TJ but never thought of getting it! Now that you recommend it, I think I would grab a box next time. Good idea with the oreo truffle!
    Oh, I made your roasted garlic and rosemary roll tonight, they were delicious! :)

  5. I was actually planning to try the Joe-Joe's in Oreo Truffle Balls sometime this month! If I make them before you do (unlikely), I'll let you know how they turn out.

  6. I never saw those Oreos in Canada. I've seen the mint variety in store. Those cookies look so good. For the oreos do I keep the middle part to make the truffles?

  7. Great minds think alike! When I saw those cookies I thought of the Oreo Truffles as well. I may have to see if our TJ's has them.

  8. Alysha - I hope you didn't end up with the mess we did! Ick!

    Kelly - I've seen vanilla bean, chocolate and I think one other - ginger or lemon?

    Mandy - Don't pass them up!

    Lauren - I have no idea when I'll get to them as I'm pretty weighed down in baking Christmas goodies!

    Helene - Yes, use both the cookie and filling!

    Erin - Yeah! I just don't know when I'll have time to make them. Hopefully before the boxes have been eaten!

  9. have you tried the TJ's candy cane joe joe's cheese cake? to die for!

  10. Hi- avariell here from CLBB...

    anyhoo - I made the oreo truffles using the peppermint joe joe's. and they are sitting here. if anyone wants to try them i'd be happy to send one out! for some reason making them made me really not want to eat them :( so i haven't even tried them!! i did crush candy canes and sprinkle the peppermint over the top of the chocolate so they look really pretty :)

    sigh. i am a bad reviewer :)

  11. Josie - Well, you have to at least try one and let us know!

  12. I have given away many of the truffle balls - both peppermint and plain oreo. One of my very good friends said if my boyfriend didn't marry me for the peppermint truffles, then she would. I had another person immediately email me and request the recipe. My boyfriend liked them but unfortunately they didn't inspire him to drop down on one knee. ;) So I think they are a hit~! (I tried a bite of one of the plain oreo ones and didn't care for it, so I decided not to waste a peppermint one on me.)

    Thanks for inspiring me to make them!

  13. Josie - Woo! I'm not sure when or if I'm going to get to making them this year... they may have to wait! I've got too many things happening on my plate as it is now. I just need to get more of the cookies before TJ's removes them!