Monsoon and a Bowl of Albondigas Soup…

You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. That’s a part of it.
Denzel WashingtonAlondigas
I am preparing for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season already and as I do I think of the two dear loving girlfriends that I have lost this year and today, constant reminders of both ladies, one I know is happy that we have her two sweet  boys, Noah and Murphy safe in a place together to live out their lives in perhaps not the resort they would have chosen, but they seem to be verrrrrry happy and content and we dearly love them.  Now my friend Linda passed away just a week or so ago and I thought about her all day long while I removed the lights from an artificial tree to make it over if you will, Linda my friend would just laugh and chuckle with everything in her and say Rose, just hire a decorator in her true smooth Arkansan voice…

So while I removed the lights from the tree I thought of both of those fine ladies and smiled the entire time until the chore was done and now the two cats are sleeping close to the tree that they helped with, a-huh and I sit and enjoy a bowl Albondigas Soup.  An easy enough dish if you plan ahead and package up ground pork and your favorite tender cuts of beef or veal.  Simply thaw, season and roll into meatballs, or prepare the meatballs, sauté,  package and freeze for a quick bowl of soup any night.  I doubled the Fine Cooking meatball mix and adapted the seasonings to my taste adding more smoked paprika (not hot) garlic and thyme.
I chose to grind the scraps and thinner parts of a trimmed out beef tenderloin along with a pork tenderloin
Albondigas 2

Smoky Albondigas Soup Fine Cooking – Perfect for our monsoon like weather last night…

12 oz. ground veal
12 oz. ground pork (preferably shoulder)
3 medium cloves garlic, 1 minced, 2 thinly sliced
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme; more for garnish
1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. hot smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 oz. manchego, finely grated
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup panko
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/8 tsp. saffron
4 cups lower-salt chicken broth
15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
8 oz. angel hair pasta, broken into thirds
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1.  Gently mix the veal and pork with the minced garlic, 1 tsp. of the thyme, 1/4 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper in a large bowl. Add the manchego, egg, and panic, and gently mix until the meat absorbs the breadcrumbs.  Gently roll 1+1/2-oz. portions of the meat into balls; you should get about 20.
2.  Heat 1-1/2 Tbs. of the oil in a 5-to 6-quart heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add half of the meatballs, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, undisturbed, until browned on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and brown the other side, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate, and repeat with the remaining meatballs.

3.  Pour off all of the fat. Add the remaining 1/2 Tbs. oil and the sliced garlic to the pot. Return the pot to medium heat and cook until the garlic sizzles, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 1 tsp. thyme, 1/8 tsp. paprika, and the saffron; cook, stirring, for 15 seconds. Add the chicken broth and crushed tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Return the meatballs to the pot, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until the meatballs cook through (160°F), about 25 minutes. Season the broth with salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring, until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain well, return to the pot, and toss with 1/2 cup of the broth.

To serve, mound the pasta in shallow bowls. Top with the meatballs and broth, sprinkle with the parsley, remaining thyme, and serve with extra grated cheese.

*The ground pork and tenderloin didn’t have a ton of fat so there wasn’t much fat in the pan, just enough to sauté garlic and spices.  A splash of Rioja red wine to deglaze the pan didn’t hurt at all.