Michael has recently moved jobs and, as it involves a little more travelling, he has to spend the occasional night away from home. Although it’s not something I’d choose for myself, it does come with a few fringe benefits. I get much more attention from the cats as they don’t have a choice of which human the snuggle up next to. I’m in total control of the TV and can watch whatever I like – often crappy-yet-nostalgic 80s sitcoms on Netflix.
But most of all I don’t have to worry about experimenting in the kitchen, as the only person I’m going to upset if things go wrong is me. As I’ll eat pretty much anything that could legally be called food when I’m hungry at least I know nothing will go to waste. Of course, most of what I call experimentation isn’t really breaking new ground. It’s more a case of trying out some slightly different methods or flavour combinations. Or batch cooking a few things for the week(s) ahead as there aren’t any other demands on my time.
This rather lovely Spicy Meatball & Potato Soup was the product of one of these evenings. I was cooking up a generous batch of meatballs to pop into the freezer and thought I’d treat myself to a few of the leftovers. As a slight side note, having a few bags of pre-cooked meatballs in the freezer has been an absolute life-saver in the past. You can pop them into pretty much any sauce to heat through (from frozen) and have a meal on the table in next to no time. I tend to reheat them whilst cooking pasta – checking of course that they’re hot the whole way through!!!
Anyway, back to this recipe… I had my meatballs, now I needed to do something with them. The usual pasta or rice options felt a little too obvious. I also wanted something a bit healthier and not too stodgy. As I’ve said before I am not a fan of soup, but when I get a pang for it I can certainly be convinced otherwise. So into the fridge and cupboards I went for help…
Well, you can see where things ended up. A light and spicy tomato-based soup made hearty with the addition of potatoes, vegetables and the all important meatballs. It was exactly what I needed and was suprisingly filling. I often reach for bread to soak up the last bits of soup, but there was no need for that here. Indeed, it was so nice that I took some leftovers to work the following day for my lunch. Knowing how little I care for soup that’s quite the positive review.
I also didn’t feel all that bad about keeping this little experiment to myself and not sharing it with Michael. He’s not a fan of spicy food and I might have used a little more chilli than I’ve listed in the recipe below. It was spicy! The amount shown below should give you a nice balance of heat and flavour, but as always you can add more if you like hefty chilli kick.
Spicy Meatball & Potato Soup
for the Meatballs
- 2 slices White Bread
- 4 tbsp Milk
- 3 cloves Garlic peeled and crushed
- 2 tsp Dried Parsley
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 500 g Lean Pork Mince
- 500 g Lean Beef Mince
- 1 large Free-Range Egg
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil for frying
for the Spicy Potato Soup
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 medium Onions peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic peeled and crushed
- 2 Red Pepper deseeded and chopped
- 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 2 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
- 2 x 400g Tinned Chopped Tomatoes
- 600 ml Good Quality Chicken Stock
- 750 g New Potatoes cut into 1cm cubes
- 150 g Spinach washed and shredded
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Make the Meatballs
- Put the bread into a food processor and blitz until you have coarse breadcrumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, then chop it as finely as you can. Put the bread into a large bowl along with the milk and allow to soak for 5-10 minutes.
- When the milk has been soaked up by the bread add in the crushed garlic, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper and mix to combine with the breadcrumbs. Add the beef and pork mince to the bowl and mix again using your hands until the bread is distributed through the meat. Finally add in the egg and mix to distribute through the meatball mixture.
- Form the mixture into meatballs around 2-3cm in diameter. I use a tablespoon to help me get the portions about right and find the mixture makes between 30 and 36 meatballs.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the meatballs in batches, turning regularly until browned all over and cooked through. This should take about 10-12 minutes for each batch.
- When cooked put the meatballs to one side until needed later.
Make the Spicy Potato Soup
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 5-10 minutes until starting to soften and turn translucent.
- Add the garlic to the pan and sauté for a further minute until fragrant. Add the red peppers, paprika, oregano and chilli flakes and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the chopped tomatoes and chicken stock and stir well. Bring to a simmer then add in the potato and cook for 15-20 minutes until the potato is tender.
- Stir the shredded spinach through the soup and allow to wilt slightly.
- Return the cooked meatballs to the pan and warm them through thoroughly.
- Season with salt and pepper, if needed, then divide between 6 bowls and serve immediately.
|Estimated Values per Serving|
|of which Saturates||5||g|
|of which Sugars||11||g|
|Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.|