Monday, 30 April 2012

Chicken Albondigas Soup: Or, Soup With Yummy Meatballs In It

Hi!  So this soup was tasty - light and flavourful. The prep was a little multi-pronged without being hella overwhelming. Good soup to have in the repertoire, and nice at this transitional time of year, otherwise known as Sprinter.

Note the knife scrape-marks I implemented on the chipotles
(2nd from top left) to make this photo more pretty.
I am SUCH a perfectionist.

Also, this soup felt (and was) healthy. I spent the weekend at a bachelorette party, and let me tell you, "healthfulness" was not part of the festivities. We mainly consumed nacho chips, regular chips, about 11 different kinds of dips, and probably 8 pounds of cheese. Whatevs, we had a salad at one point. Don't judge.

If you had time, you could do up the meatballs beforehand (even the day before), and then putting the soup together would be a total breeze. As it stood I kinda puttered around doing different parts throughout the day. Because I obviously have nothing but time.

Chicken Albondigas Soup
This recipe is from an ahmaaazing cookbook that I routinely leave open on my counter for browsing purposes. And see, I stumbled upon this and happened to have ground chicken! Fate. It's the Food and Wine Magazine's 2001 Cookbook.

Foreground:  meatballs.
Background:  Inspirational material.
1 tbsp of olive oil
5 green onions, sliced finely
3 cloves of garlic, minced
about half a red pepper, diced        (you could use yellow or red pepper, but can I say don't use green? Green peppers are gross.)
Half a jalapeno pepper, diced         (leave in the seeds and ribs if you like heat)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 pound of ground chicken, or turkey     (just your average package of ground meat is the size I used - I can't be bothered to go back to the package to check exactly how much meat it was, but let's say a pound? yeah?)
1 cup of cooked rice       (if you didn't have cooked rice, I say go ahead and use bread crumbs as you would in a normal, non-Albondigas style meatball. I cooked rice special for this - see above re 'nothing but time' - but I get that that might not be doable)
1 egg white
A good handful of chopped cilantro
2 canned chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, minced        (get a can of these puppies, you won't regret it - also, they keep for a long time in a good tupperware in the fridge once you've opened them)
Salt and pepper
1 can of corn        (the recipe called for 1/2 a cup, but I wish I had put more corn in, so use the whole can - and don't be like me - I have some weird love for eating corn right out of the can and ate too much of it)
A handful of chopped tomatoes
4 cups of chicken stock
Lime wedges, for serving

I know this is a bowl of raw ground
chicken but I was kind of into this photo.
To make the meatballs, which you'll then simmer in the stock to cook, saute the green onions, garlic, red pepper, and jalapeno pepper over medium heat in the oil until they soften. About 5 minutes. Then add the ground cumin and coriander, and saute that in good, until you can really smell the spices, another minute or two. Let the mixture cool, then add it to a bowl with your ground chicken in it. Add in the cooked rice (or bread crumbs), the egg white, the cilantro, chipotles, and a good dose of salt and pepper. Mix it up well, and then form into small meatballs. Mine were mega-wet seeming, and I thought the whole thing was going to be a wash at one point. But I popped them in the fridge to firm 'em up, and that worked like a charm.  They stayed together brilliantly in the soup.

Once your m-balls are ready, bring your chicken stock to boil in a big soup pot. Add in the corn kernels and chopped tomato, simmer those for a few minutes, and then plop in the meatballs. Keep the heat at medium, and let it go for about ten minutes or so. Check a meatball if you're unsure of doneness, but it really doesn't take long. Serve in big bowls with a squirt of lime juice and some more chopped cilantro.

So on-theme with the limes, eh? You think this stuff just happens?
Also note how "brilliantly" the meatballs stayed together.