Assyrian Meatball Soup (Chipteh)
Sometimes I share recipes that are a little too “ethnic” for the average person. Or perhaps, they have ingredients that are not easy to come by. Luckily, this isn’t one of those recipes. Most people have had some version of meatball soup. This just happens to be the Assyrian version; extra hearty, and rich in flavor. This is one of those versatile recipes that anyone will enjoy. In fact, if you don’t tell your company that it’s an Assyrian recipe, they will never suspect it.
Assyrian Meatball Soup (Chipteh/Kipteh)
Whether it’s Italian wedding soup, or Mexican albondigas soup, the idea is the same. These soups all start with ground meat, mixed with herbs, spices, and perhaps rice. The meatballs are then cooked in a tomato-based soup. Sometimes a little too watered down for my taste, but not with this soup! The rice in this soup makes it hearty enough to serve as an entree, which is how Assyrians serve it. Sometimes the meatballs are formed around a boiled egg, packing even more flavor, and protein. When mom prepared this soup, she always made a few boiled egg-filled meatballs that were reserved for my dad. They were his favorite. If you have some fresh basil on hand, by all means, toss them in!
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Delicious and hearty Assyrian meatball soup.
Pour 2 cups of water over the rice and allow to soak for 30 minutes.
Mix the remaining meatball ingredients in a large bowl.
Rub the soaked rice between your hands to break it up. This will make it easier to cook inside of the meatballs.
Remove 1/4 cup of rice, and add to the meatball mixture. Set the remaining rice and liquid aside to use in the soup. Knead the meatball mixture with your hands. Form eight meatballs and set aside.
Add oil, onion, green pepper and paprika to a 5 qt. Dutch oven. Fry the onion and green pepper over medium heat until soft.
Add tomato paste, the remaining rice, and the water it has been soaking in. Add an additional four cups of water, basil, and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
Carefully drop the meatballs into the soup. Cover and cook, over low heat, for 30 minutes, or until the rice inside the meatballs are fully cooked.