Tomato Noodle Soup with Kibbeh (Meatballs)
By Emanuel Lee, The Nosher
There really is no better cure for the weekday blues than a hot bowl of soup. Some of my worst days have ended in the best, most comforting evenings upon arriving home to a pot of soup simmering on the stove, made by a loved one.
It’s the traditional cure for colds, stomach aches, and even heartache, but there’s more to the soup world than just chicken noodle.
I’m calling my current weeknight therapy “tomato noodle.”
It’s not just soup but dinner, thanks to the depth of flavor, the heartiness of carb-y noodles, and the comforting familiarity of kibbeh (meatballs).
Whether you’re making this for your family or as your weekly act of self-love, being greeted with the aromas of this instant remedy is bound to cheer up even those who never knew they needed it.
For the kibbeh:
1 lb. ground beef
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 white onion, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. breadcrumbs (optional)
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. pepper
For the soup:
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ red onion, finely sliced
1 white onion, finely sliced
3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
14.5 oz. can plum tomatoes
2 chicken or vegetable stock cubes
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. honey
2 bay leaves
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. chili flakes
salt and pepper
6 oz. bucatini or spaghetti
½ cup parsley, chopped
Start by making the kibbeh. Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil. Mix well with a wooden spoon or clean hands, making sure all the ingredients are thoroughly and evenly combined.
Wet your hands with cold water and roll the meat mixture into walnut-shaped golf ball-sized meatballs with your hands.
This recipe makes around 16 to 18 meatballs. Optional: Refrigerate the kibbeh for 20 minutes to keep a perfect shape.
Heat a large pot (the same one you’ll use for the soup) on medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pot and place the meatballs around the pan, leaving about an inch between each, so they’re not overcrowded.
Allow them to sear until golden on one side, about five minutes, and then turn them over to do the same on the remaining sides.
Don’t worry if they’re not cooked all the way through yet. Transfer the meatballs to a separate plate and set aside. You may need to cook the kibbeh in batches if your pot doesn’t fit them all at once.
Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the pot and sauté the garlic and onions along with the bay leaves.
Season with a pinch of salt and add the paprika, chili flakes, and cinnamon, stirring occasionally.
Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the fresh tomatoes and allow them to soften and melt into the onions.
Then add the can of tomatoes and break the tomatoes apart with a wooden spoon until you have a thick sauce consistency. Season with a pinch of salt and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the stock cubes, mix well, and cover with four cups of water. Add the honey and lemon juice, leaving the leftover lemon carcass in the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
Pour the meatballs back into the soup (including any residual juices) and allow them to simmer gently on a low heat for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook your noodles. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles as directed on the package. Add to the soup or set aside and refrigerate if you’re not eating immediately.
To serve, ladle soup, a few meatballs and noodles into bowls and top with fresh parsley. Serve with extra lemon for squeezing.