The Warming Hot Pot

A hot pot of goodness in any of its many variations is a welcome meal when the weather turns cold.  It is truly a treasure pot of goodies and allows a lot of variety in the one pot meal.  You can go spicy or delicate, meaty, seafood, veggie, or all of the above.  What I love about it is that it is always satisfying and there is something for everyone.

Meatball and Seafood Hot Pot
5-7 Beef Meatballs
3/4 lb Black cod, cut into bite sized pieces
1 lb live Manila clams, rinsed
1/2 lb head on white shrimp
1 14oz pkg soft tofu, cut into 2" x 1/2" thick slices
4 Cups chicken stock
4 Dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water until soft, than cut in half
2 slice 1/4" thick ginger
5-7 Nappa cabbage leaves, cut in half or thirds

Beef Meatballs
1 lb Ground Sirloin, Long Valley Ranch Pasture Raised Beef
2 Scallions, finely chopped
1 tsp finely minced ginger
3 Dried Shiitake mushrooms, soaked, finely chopped
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup water
Freshly ground black pepper
Mix all of the ingredients together and allow to gel in the refrigerator for several hours.  Then, using your hands, form into large balls.

Bring chicken stock to boil with shiitake mushrooms and ginger.  Let simmer for 5 minutes.
In a heavy cast iron skillet, cook meatballs in a few tablespoons of oil until well browned.  Covering the pan between flipping the meatballs will help to cook them through, though they will be cooked further in the hot pot.  Drain, set aside.
Assemble your ingredients in a large earthenware / clay pot, or soup pot.  Lay the napa cabbage on the bottom, place the meatballs all around.  The rest is a free for all, however you like to arrange the remaining ingredients.  Once everything is in the pot, pour the hot stock over it, cover and bring to a simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until clams are open.


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