Friday, April 10, 2020


Comfort food, although traditionally associated with autumn and winter, does not have to be reserved only for cold weather. Sometimes we need a bowl of comfort no matter which season it is, and some meals will always be soothing to the soul. This is one of them.
Tender eggless meatballs, full of garlic and spices, in a wonderful velvety soup that you can serve with crusty bread and pickled vegetables, or a fresh tomato salad, with plenty of parsley. And if you are a cheese lover, you will be happy to know that it is divine with crumbled Feta.

For the meatballs
450 grams lean ground beef
50 grams yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
75 grams bread
150 grams plain yoghurt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon chili flakes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the soup
1 litre beef stock
1 litre warm water
300 grams carrots, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
For the roux
40 grams plain flour
40 millilitres vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

To make the meatballs, mince the onion and garlic, and place them into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix and mash together the bread and the yoghurt. Once combined, add in the spices and mix again. Add the ground beef to the onion and garlic, add in the bread mix well by hand, to make a uniform dough. It should be slightly sticky, but not wet. If it seems a bit wet, add tablespoon or two of breadcrumbs. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes, then take rounded tablespoons of it and shape it into meatballs. Take a large baking sheet, line it with baking parchment, and arrange the meatballs. Lightly brush them with the oil, and bake in a preheated oven, at 200°C, for about 15-20 minutes, until baked but not dry.
When they are baked, take them off the baking sheet, discarding any oil that remained after baking, and add them to a large pot. Pour in the stock and water, add in the carrots, salt, and the tomato paste, mix well, and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Cook them, while just occasionally stirring, for one hour. Towards the end of the cooking time, make the blond roux. Whisk together the flour and oil, add it to a sauté pan, and cook over medium heat until slightly darker in colour and fragrant. Sprinkle in the smoked paprika, and cook for about 30 seconds more. Let it cool down slightly, and then, working quickly, add it to the pot with the meatballs, stirring it through vigorously. Let it cook for another 20 minutes, taste and adjust the seasoning, and remove from the heat. Serve immediately with crusty bread, and a salad of your choice. Yields 6 rich servings.