Saturday, March 5, 2011

Moroccan Meatball, Chard and Kabocha Soup

This recipe came from A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash by Lou Seibert Pappas. Lou is the author of over 50 cookbooks and has been a contributor to newspapers and Sunset Magazine. I think this recipe just might be the healthiest thing the Hub and I have ever eaten. I've never eaten chard before, but who could resist this bunch that I found at my local Whole Foods.

I used ground beef instead of lamb. I gave the Hub the choice and he picked the beef, adventuresome guy that he is. We both like the soup and took it for lunch for a couple of days.

1 lb lean ground lamb or ground chuck
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 egg
3 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 clove garlic, minced

1 bunch red Swiss chard (about 12 ounces)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
1 stalk fennel or celery, chopped
2 tsps grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 quarts beef broth
2 cups diced kabocha squash
5 tbsps tomato paste
6 red or yellow plum tomatoes, sliced
salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

To make the meatballs, in a bowl, combine the meat, cornstarch, egg, cilantro, allspice and garlic and mix lightly shape into 3/4-inch balls. (I used the food processor.)

Remove the ribs from the Swiss chard and slice thinly crosswise. Chop the leaves separately; set aside. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chard ribs, onion, carrot and fennel and saute until limp. Add the ginger, allspice, cumin, pepper, broth, squash and tomato paste; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully drop the meatballs into the hot broth. Add the chard leaves and tomatoes. Simmer for 5 or 6 minutes longer, or until the vegetables are tender and the meatballs are cooked through. Season with salt.

Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with the cilantro, and serve immediately.

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