Hearty lamb & tomatillo soup with albondigas & ancient grains

Hearty lamb & tomatillo soup with albondigas & ancient grains

By
From
Cantina
Serves
4-6
Photographer
Chris Middleton

This recipe is commonly eaten for lunch or supper in Mexico. The influence for these albondigas, or ‘meatballs’ as they translate in Spanish, dates back to the 6th century when a strong Islamic influence dominated the region. In Arabic the word al-bunduq means ‘hazelnut’, giving you a good idea of the size of these meatballs. Albondigas are also great as party food served on skewers with plenty of salsa verde or romesco sauce. Alternatively, simply serve the soup as a broth rich with grains and pulses.

Soup

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
60ml olive oil
1 free-range lamb shank
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 small carrot, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
50ml sherry
1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1.5 litres chicken stock
200g tinned tomatillos, chopped
60g chipotle in adobo sauce
1 small handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
sugar, to taste
sea salt, to taste

Albondigas

Quantity Ingredient
60ml olive oil
1/4 onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chilli powder
750g minced free-range lamb
150g sliced day-old bread, soaked in milk to soften
2 large eggs
50g salted ricotta, grated
1 large handful oregano leaves, roughly chopped
1 small handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
sea salt, to taste

Ancient grains

Quantity Ingredient
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 carrot, diced
150g kale or silverbeet leaves, finely chopped
50g cooked mixed quinoa
40g cooked farro
40g cooked or tinned chickpeas
40g cooked or tinned puy lentils
50g cooked peas
1 small handful oregano leaves, roughly chopped

Garnish

Quantity Ingredient
Jalapeño & finger lime crema
mint leaves
micro coriander
100g salted ricotta, finely chopped

Method

  1. To prepare the soup, heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium–high heat. Season the lamb shank with salt and pepper and seal until it is browned all over. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add the carrot, onion and garlic to the pan and cook until golden brown. Pour in the sherry and vinegar. Add the sugar and reduce to a syrup. Add the spices and cook until fragrant. Return the lamb shank to the pan, pour in the stock, cover and cook over low heat for 3 hours, or until the lamb is soft and gelatinous.
  3. Remove the lamb, place in a bowl and set aside to cool slightly. Flake the lamb from the bone with a fork, discarding any bone or sinew.
  4. Skim any excess fat off the top of the soup. Add the tomatillos and chipotle in adobo sauce and simmer until the soup has reduced by half. Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender, add the mint and parsley and process until smooth. Season with sugar and salt. Pour the soup into a clean large saucepan, add the shredded lamb and keep warm.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  6. To prepare the albondigas, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium frying pan over low heat. Cook the onion and garlic until softened. Add the spices and cook until fragrant.
  7. Combine the spiced onion mixture with the lamb, bread, eggs, ricotta, oregano and mint. Mix well using clean hands to knead the mixture together. Season with salt. Roll a small ball and cook in a frying pan to taste and test the seasoning. Adjust if required. Shape the remaining mixture into small hazelnut-sized balls, or larger balls if you prefer.
  8. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over medium–high heat. Seal the meatballs in batches, for 2–3 minutes, until they are browned all over. Transfer the meatballs to a large ovenproof dish and add enough lamb soup to cover. Bake for 8 minutes, turn off the oven and leave the meatballs in the oven to stay warm.
  9. To prepare the ancient grains, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook the onion and garlic until softened. Add the celery, carrot and kale and cook for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the precooked grains, pulses, peas and oregano and cook for a further 2 minutes, or until heated through.
  10. To serve, reheat the soup until hot. Divide the vegetable and grain mixture into your serving bowls and arrange the meatballs on top. Spoon on some jalapeño and finger lime crema and scatter over some mint and micro coriander leaves and salted ricotta. Present the soup in the centre of the table for your guests to help themselves.
Tags:
Latin
Mexican
Mexico
Cantina
Paul Wilson
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again