Sopa de Albondigas (Meatball Soup)

finalComfort food staples for some Mexicans include sopa de albondigas, or meatball soup. Whether it starts a meal or is the main star, albondigas always satisfies in the nostalgia-takes-me-back-to-my-youth department.  The rich flavorful broth married with a spiced-filled albondiga (a.k.a. meatball) makes a great addition to any dinner…or lunch… or even breakfast (why not!).

So I have taken the meat out of the ball and instead used delicious, nutrient-dense chickpeas. The chickpeas really help create a dense, filling ball.  It is very similar to falafel, just with a few twists.  Not sure if I can call it a meatball if it technically is not made with meat.  Hmmm. Well whatever they are call they sure are tasty.

WHAT YOU NEED:

– 1 cup of dried chickpeas (garbanzos), rinsed;
– 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped;
– ½ onion, roughly chopped;
– ¼ cup of cilantro or parsley, roughly chopped;
– 1 teaspoon of cumin;
-1 teaspoon of baking powder;
– ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper;
-2 tablespoons of flour;
-1-3 tablespoons of olive oil;
– 6-8 cups of liquid (vegetable stock, water, etc);
-1 chipotle, finely chopped;
– ¼ onion, chopped;
-1 carrot, chopped;
-2 cups of spinach leaves;
-oil for frying;
– salt;

WHAT YOU DO:

Place chickpeas in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight.  Chickpeas are ready when they are tender and have doubled in size.  Drain chickpeas and combine with onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, cayenne, baking powder and salt in a food processor (if you have a small processor you may have to do it in batches).

begin

Pulse a few times to combine then turn processor on low and drizzle in olive oil until mixture is coarsely ground and sticks together. Using a tablespoon, plop mixture onto waxed paper forming walnut-sized “meatballs” (mine look more like discs but oh well).

uncooked

Refrigerate for at least two hours or until firm.  Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat.  Place meatballs in skillet and cook until brown on all sides.  Place on paper-towel lined plate.

cooked

Heat liquid in a large stockpot with chipotle, onions and carrots. Once onions are tender gently add meatballs to the stockpot.  Add spinach and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until spinach begins to wilt. Serve immediately.

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