Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Crockpot Albondigas Soup

Much to my surprise, I've been using the crockpot quite a bit this summer. For the first half of this summer, I didn't want to use it because I figured making hot soups and stews in the crock would only make me feel hotter. But then I had a realization: using the crockpot means no standing over a hot stove at dinnertime.

I chose to make this soup for two reasons: (1) I had albondigas soup at a Colombian restaurant a few weeks ago, and thought it was delicious and (2) I had a bunch of frozen meatballs in the freezer from a party I threw, oh, say about 10 months ago...

This recipe makes an excellent soup, though I was a little disappointed that I couldn't taste the mint so much, which is supposed to be what makes albondigas soup special. Maybe next time I will add more mint, or add some to garnish at the end. Update: I threw in a handful (about 1/4 cup) of finely chopped fresh mint after posting this. At first, it tasted vaguely like mint chewing gum. But after letting the flavors mellow overnight, the mint added a nice refreshing tingle that complemented the heat from the cayenne pepper.

Crockpot Albondigas Soup
Adapted (barely) from A Year of Slow Cooking

1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup prepared pasta sauce
1 cup baby carrots, sliced into quarters
1 1/2 cups tomatoes , diced (I used a combination of grape tomatoes and a regular tomato)
1 Tbs fresh mint, chopped
1/2 cup frozen corn
About 15-18 frozen meatballs (Italian flavored)
3/4 cup frozen peas
2 whole cloves garlic (I love slow-cooked garlic in soups and stews!)
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Dump all the ingredients into the crockpot, except the frozen peas. (Handy tip: chop up the vegetables the night before and store in the fridge to save time in the morning!) Stir to combine. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. About twenty minutes before serving, stir in frozen peas to retain their color. (This step isn't necessary, but I was following Stephanie O'Dea's advice on her post). Garnish with some parmesan cheese.
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