Long ago, I became enamored with a Spanish Country cookbook while perusing a bookstore, only to bring it home and realize that too many of the dishes were out-of-my-league. Or so I thought. In the intervening years, I have re-visited it and many, many dishes later I can say it turned out to be a good purchase. Mini-lesson: if a cookbook strikes your fancy, get it, regardless of how difficult you think the recipes inside will be to make. Start with the simplest and leaf through every one in a while as your skills improve, your daring grows and your confidence builds.
This was one of the first recipes from the book, and I’ve since changed a few things but the idea is still there. this wonderful Catalan soup is a medium for the delivery of awesome mini-meatballs. The mint and dash of cinnamon give the soup a unique flavor, but don’t be afraid, it may taste unfamiliar, but it definitely works.
For the meatballs:
- Approx. 3/4 lb of ground meat (use anything you like- I think lamb or a mix will work best)
- One small (or 1/2 large) onion, grated
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- dash of cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- flour for dusting
For the soup:
- 4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
- 4 Roma tomatoes chopped or one can of petite diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup kosher vermicelli noodles (i.e. fine egg or egg white noodles in your kosher section)
- mint leaves, chopped
Mix all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Add enough breadcrumbs to achieve a consistency that you can roll (the shredded onion is watery), then roll into 1-inch spheres. Place meatballs onto a plate and place the flour in a hand-held sieve and dust them with flour. Shake the plate to shimmy the meatballs around will dusting to achieve good coverage. Place enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a skillet and fry the meatballs on medium-high until they brown and firm up, about minutes. Set aside on a paper towel to dry.
Bring the stock to a boil then add the tomatoes. Reduce heat slightly to a simmer and add the noodles. Next add the meatballs and continue to cook until the meatballs are heated through and the noodles are tender about 5 minutes. Garnish with the mint, serve with bread, Enjoy!