Umami Recipes
Umami Recipes

Syrian-Style Meatball Soup with Rice and Tomatoes

4 servings

servings

40 minutes

total time

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef OR turkey

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 large yellow onion, grated on the large holes of a box grater, divided

5 medium garlic cloves, finely grated

2 teaspoons ground allspice OR ground cumin, divided

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes OR ground cinnamon OR both

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 quart low-sodium beef OR chicken broth

1/2 cup long-grain white rice OR basmati rice, rinsed and drained

Optional garnish: Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley OR chopped fresh cilantro OR pomegranate molasses OR a combination

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine the beef, 2 tablespoons oil, ¼ cup of the grated onion, half of the garlic, 1½ teaspoons of the allspice, the red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Mix with your hands until well combined; set aside.

In a large pot, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the remaining onion, the remaining garlic, the remaining ½ teaspoon allspice and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is browned and sticks to the pot, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes with juices, the broth and 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits, then stir in the rice. Reduce to medium and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes; the rice will not be fully cooked.

Using dampened hands, pinch off a 1-tablespoon portion of the meat mixture, form it into a ball and drop it into the broth. Shape the remaining meat mixture and add to the pot in the same way; it’s fine if the meatballs are not completely uniform. Simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the soup is slightly thickened and the center of the meatballs reach 160°F, 10 to 15 minutes. Off heat, taste and season with salt and black pepper.

Notes

This rustic meatball and rice soup is pure comfort food. The recipe is our adaptation of one from “Aromas of Aleppo” by Poopa Dweck. Made with canned tomatoes, rice and boxed broth, plus a few warming spices, onion and garlic, the soup requires only one refrigerated ingredient: ground beef (ground turkey works well, too). The prep is easy, too. We grate both the onion and garlic so no knifework is required. What’s more, there’s no need to pre-shape or brown the meatballs. As you form them, simply drop them into the simmering broth.

4 servings

servings

40 minutes

total time
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