Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Delicious Meatball Soup

Let me tell you - my kid LOVES soup! Sometimes she wakes up and her first food-related request is "I want soup". I admit that up until very recently I've mostly been buying already prepared soups thinking it saves on time and it's relatively inexpensive, even with premium brands.

But a few days ago I've decided that enough is enough! I gotta make my own soups: if I make a big batch, I can always take some as lunch or even freeze it. Frankly, having soup for lunch is a much healthier option than, say, a sandwich because soup fills me up, but I don't feel stuffed and sleepy afterwards. And a regular bowl of soup generally runs at about 200 cals per portion (provided it's not one of those creamy soup variety).

So anyways, my first "by the book" soup (as opposed to something I'd just thrown together). In English, I guess you could call it Meatball Soup, but we call it Soup with Frikadelkas (суп с фрикадельками). Even just hearing the name of this soup instantly reminds me of home, my childhood and of my mom making it because I just LOVE it (especially the meatballs, he-he)! It's light on the stomach & easy of the prep. So, here it is.



* 300-350 g of ground meat of any kind - I used ground chicken
* 3 medium potatoes (about 300 g)
* 1 small onion
* 1 medium carrot
* 1/2 sweet red pepper (optional) - I use a whole pepper, and it was a bit too much
* tiny pasta or rice (optional) - I use Filini (see below)
* salt & pepper

* 3 bay leaves

1. Chop up pepper, carrot and onion (try to chop the onion an fine as possible, you'll need it for your ground meat).

2. Peel, wash and chop potatoes into cubes.
3. Add some onion, salt and pepper into the ground meat; mix well and set aside.

4. (Optional step) Lightly stir-fry pepper + carrot + onion till golden.

5. Bring 1.5-2 L of water to boil (the amount of water depends on how "brothy" you want your soup to be; I used 2 L). Add the pepper + carrot + onion mixture and gently boil for 5-7 minutes. Add potatoes and bring to a boil again.

6. Now on to the meatballs! Grab small amounts of your meat mixture and make small, compact (really squish it) balls the size of a walnut (maximum, you don't want them too large, they won't cook through quickly). Drop them one by one into the soup. Add some salt and pepper and cook on low for about 15 minutes.

7. If you're adding rice, throw it in right after the meatballs (you'll only need about a handful). If using pasta, like I was, throw it in 5 minutes after the last meatball. The recipe called for 1 handful of pasta, but since I used 2 L of water instead of 1.5 L, I added 3 handfuls.

8. After about 7-10 minutes of cooking, add the bay leaves (variations are limitless - you can add basil, chives, parsley, etc. - I say, the more the better when it comes to greens!)

You can serve it with a dollop of sour cream and top it with greens (again, chives, parsley, etc.)


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