Monday, 30 September 2013

A Warming Soup with Meatballs

A yummy autumn warmer
We love clear soups back home. This one is made with frikadel'ki - meatballs, and is an excellent way of enhancing flavour and making the soup more substantial. You can use any grain in this soup: rice, pearl barley, millet or like me - buckwheat (or kasha as you all call it).
Buckwheat is the nation's favourite grain back home. It is deemed to be good for virtually anything and full of vitamins. An absolute must for children and adults alike. (My mother is horrified that my children do not eat it regularly). It is available in health shops, Whole Foods, online (try and in East European shops.

Make sure you read the cooking instructions for the grain you use - and adjust the recipe, so the potatoes and the grain are ready at the same time.

Soup s Frikadelkami (Clear soup with meatballs)
(makes 6 portions, or 4 super portions)


For the meatballs:

750g minced pork or beef (I used pork, but beef would work just as well)
1 egg
Salt and pepper
Sunflower oil for frying
Flour - to roll the meatballs in

For the soup:

1.5-1.7l of chicken stock
1 medium onion - thinly sliced
1 large or 2 small carrots - chopped into thin slices
5 medium potatoes peeled and cut into 1 inch (2cm) chunks
100g of buckwheat kasha
Slat and pepper
Lots of chopped fresh dill and parsley to serve

The method: 

First prepare the meatballs. Mix the mince with the egg and seasoning in a large bowl. You need to season it really well and add a lot of black pepper, as the meatballs can otherwise be a bit bland. Divide into 25-30 small balls, rolling each in flour and fry until nicely browned on all sides. Set aside.

Heat the stock. While the stock is heating, saute the onions and the carrots in a separate frying pan until soft and slightly golden (this adds 'meatiness' - which we love), but you can just add them without frying. This type of frying is called 'zazharka' and takes at least 10 min.

When the stock is boiling, add the potatoes, after about 15 min add the buckwheat (the buckwheat I used took 15 min to cook). Then add the meatballs, onions and carrots.

Cook for another 15 min. (Check that the potatoes are cooked and that kasha is soft).

Serve with crusty bread and lots of dill and parsley.

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