Zuppa Salsiccia, Italian Sausage Soup

February 16, 2011 at 6:42 am | Posted in Italian, Soup | 39 Comments
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Zuppa Salsiccia simply translates to Sausage Soup, which seems like such a modest description for this incredibly flavorful dish. 

This soup, hands down, is our favorite in my database. I’ve had this recipe for many years and every time we make it we comment about why we don’t have it more often.  Alongside a beautiful green salad dressed with your favorite vinaigrette and a chunk of crusty bread, this is elegant enough to serve as a main course at a dinner party. 

An easy fix, the hardest part is giving up a cup and a half of good drinking red wine to simmer in the broth. The combination of both sweet and hot Italian sausage which has  long simmered in beef stock, red wine and tomatoes, seasoned with green bell pepper, garlic, onion and basil makes for an incredibly flavorful treat. Ladling it over some al dente large shell pasta and topping with it with some shredded Parmesan cheese finishes this delicious soup.  You really must give this one a try. 

Zuppa Salsiccia:

  • 3 links hot Italian Sausage
    3 links sweet Italian Sausage
    1 1/2 cups good quality red wine
    3 cups beef broth
    2 cans stewed tomatoes
    1 onion, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
    1 whole green pepper, chopped
    2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped, plus some for garnish
    2 Tbs dried basil
    3 whole garlic cloves,  minced
    2 Tbs olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
    Large shell pasta, cooked al-la-dente

1. In a deep pan brown sausage thoroughly, remove from pan and drain well. In same pan saute onions, green peppers and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add sausage and red wine and bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for at least one hour.

About 15 minutes before soup is done, cook the pasta according to package instructions, drain and keep warm. In a soup bowl spoon a few pasta shells, pour a generous helping of soup over top.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and some parsley for garnish.

Servings: 8

Zuppa Salsiccia…It’s What’s For Dinner.

Zuppa Salsiccia is heading over to paradise for Deb’s Souper Sunday.

And also entering this in: “Come join Soup-a-Palooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Crackers

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Linda’s Moist and Delicious Corn Bread

February 8, 2011 at 8:08 am | Posted in Bread | 45 Comments
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When I was growing up, my father’s signature dish was his Chili Soup. On cold dark windy evenings in the middle of Kansas he would combine fried hamburger meat and chopped onion, pinto beans, tomatoes and seasonings of cumin, chili powder and oregano into a delicious bowl of soup. Simply topped with hand-crushed saltine crackers, it was certainly a treat.

Over the years I’ve enjoyed it with flour tortillas, corn tortilla chips, topped with cheese, sour cream or chopped green onions, even chocolate shavings and more recently served with corn bread. Chili seems to be a welcome canvas for so many toppings but to this day my favorite way to eat it is with crushed saltines or corn tortilla chips. How do you take your Chili Soup?

My love affair with corn bread got off to a very long, dry, grainy, stick in the throat start. Jiffy, Marie Calendar’s, and even homemade found me wondering what the attraction was. I’m very well aware that any of my friends that are from Texas, live in Texas, or even are married to a Texan wouldn’t hear of having a bowl of  chili soup without it, so started my search for a good corn bread recipe.

One day, out of the blue,  my good friend Linda, who is married to David from Texas, unwittingly brought over a pan of the most delicious and moist cornbread that I have ever tasted. I was an instant fan and finally understood what all the fuss was about. I’ve made her recipe several times and served it this past Sunday with my big pot of chili for our Superbowl Party. Let’s take a look.

Linda and Z

Linda’s Corn Bread

1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs — beaten
1 cup buttermilk
3 Tbs canola oil
1 can corn — drained
1 cup shredded cheese — mexican mix
3 Tbs pickled jalapenos — diced

1. Preheat oven to 375. Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and oil. Gently fold the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until a batter is formed. Fold in the corn, cheese, and pickled jalapenos.

2. Pour batter into a lightly greased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is light-brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the heat and let cool a few minutes.

Servings: 12

I’ve had several of you ask me what the “Z” stands for in the title of my blog. Zia is our little Yorkie, whose name, soon after joining our family, was abbreviated to simply Z.  Zia hails from New Mexico, and as her sun symbol name implies, is a ray of sunshine in our life. This photo is Linda holding puppy Zia the day LeRoy delivered all 2 pounds of her to Colorado.

Linda’s Corn Bread…It’s What to Serve with Chili.

Delicious and Easy; Chipotle Chicken Soup

February 3, 2011 at 8:40 am | Posted in Soup | 55 Comments
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Chipotle Chicken Soup.  It’s one of our favorite easy weeknight fixes. It comes together in about 30 minutes and brings a wonderful combination of textures and flavors with it. 

But before we get to the soup I want you to take a look at those little tubes of crispy sour cream filled tortilla rounds resting on the rim of the soup plate. Well, one.  The other decided to slide down into the soup for a swim before I could get a photo…there’s always one in every crowd.  

This recipe comes from a Better Homes and Gardens Easy Soups and Stews cookbook that I’ve had for umpteen years. 

I’ve made this Chipotle Chicken Soup a million times and never paid much attention to the little side addition of these tortilla tubes. If you look closely you can see one sitting unassumably in the bottom right corner of their photo. And before we go any further, no, I would never write in the autographed copy of my Rick Bayless cookbook.  Let’s take a look at these little rollups.

Just take  flour tortillas and cut them in 4ths. I used a sun-dried tomato flavored tortillas.  Place them on a paper towel and microwave for 15 – 20 seconds to soften.

Brush each side with olive oil.

Roll them up and secure with a toothpick to hold them open. Bake at 350 degrees for about eight minutes. 

Cool slightly and fill with sour cream. I filled these with sour cream to which I had added some drained Rotel tomatoes and chopped cilantro. Warm, chewy and a wonderfully unique compliment to the Mexican-style soup.

OK…are you thinkin’ the same thing I’m thinkin’? The filling possibilities seem endless. These little baked tubes would be a welcoming vessel for so many cheese appetizer ideas. 

Chipotle Chicken Soup

  • 3 14-ounce cans chicken broth (I used Better Than Boullion)
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce cut into slivers (I removed seeds and veins)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of the adobo sauce
  • 1 spinach, tomato or plain flour tortilla, quartered
  • 2 t. olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 12 ounces total)
  • 1/2 t. ground cumin
  • 2 t. olive oil
  • 1 small avocado, halved, peeled and sliced
  • 1 14-ounce can white or yellow hominy drained
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro for sprinkling

In a saucepan, combine chicken broth and chipotle pepper and sauce. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for ten minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the tortilla tubes as shown above.

Rub both sides of chicken breasts with cumin. In a large skillet cook chicken in 2 t. hot olive oil over medium high for 10 – 12 minutes, or until chicken breast is no longer pink. 

To serve, place one cooked chicken breast half in each of four warmed soup bowls. Add avocado and hominy to each bowl. Pour simmering broth into each bowl.  Sprinkle with cilantro.

Note:  I’ve served the chicken breast whole, but prefer to cube or shred the chicken. Either way, this soup is delicious.

Chipotle Chicken Soup…It’s What’s For Dinner.

10 Mushroom Soup

December 19, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Posted in Soup | 26 Comments
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You’ve heard of 10 Bean Soup…here’s my version using mushrooms.  How do I describe this soup; hearty, earthy, flavorful, complex, creamy, chewy, delicious, mushroomy, rich, divine. If you like mushrooms, you’re gonna love this soup. And if you don’t like mushrooms, this just might be the dish that begs you to reconsider.

A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to receive samples of gourmet dried mushrooms from Marx Foods. These mushrooms have been staring at me since then asking “what’cha gonna make”? Now that soup weather is upon us, I finally found some inspiration and decided to make an over the top cream of mushroom soup using any kind of mushroom I could get my hands on.

Augmenting my stash of dried mushrooms from Marx Foods, I made a trip to Whole Foods to grab a handful of several types of exotic wild varieties to join the party.  Adding white wine to the broth, finishing with sherry and cream, I ended up with layers of compatible flavors and a wonderful soup. What started out as a vision of elegance, actually ended up to be a hearty bowl of comfort food that we couldn’t stop eating.

In the end, I had a small amount of about 10 different mushroom varieties in this soup and they all shared the spotlight quite nicely. Surprisingly, each mushroom retained its individual flavor and unique texture. The sweat cream was a wonderful compliment to woodsy flavors and the ever congenial chicken broth and white wine offered a fabulous beginning for these ingredients to come together into a tasty bowl of soup.

I just love the combination of a good flavored chicken stock and a dry white wine for chicken or vegetable based soups. For this soup I used a Pinot Grigio, but have also used a Chardonnay on the dry side. Whichever you choose, wine brings acidity which elevates the flavors. It’s much like lemon zest, but with a different flavor result. And, as we’ve been lectured by professionally trained chefs, never use a wine that you wouldn’t drink.

Let’s take a look.

  • 4 cups chicken soup
  • 1 oz each dried black trumpet, lobster and porcini mushrooms, soaked in water for two hours to reconstitute
  • 1/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
  • 1/4 pound fresh button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1/4 pound exotic wild mushrooms such as morels, oysters or tree ears or any available varieties, washed and sliced
  • 2 C. dry white wine
  • 3/4 C. wild and brown rice mix (packaged mix from Costco)
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/4 C. flour
  • 1 C. heavy cream
  • 1/2 t. dried thyme
  • three grates of fresh nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 T. Sherry

In a Dutch oven, bring the chicken stock to a simmer. Add the white wine and continue to simmer. Stir in the wild/brown rice mix and simmer according to package instructions, until the rice is tender. 

In a skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about five minutes. Add all of the fresh sliced mushrooms and drain the soaking dried mushrooms, rinse to clean, pat dry and slice.  Saute until mushrooms soften, are fragrant and on the edge of browning, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and gradually add the cream until smooth and starting to thicken. Season with thyme, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Add this mixture to the simmering pot of wild rice, chicken stock and wine as soon the rice is tender.

Stir in the sherry and let simmer on low for about twenty minutes.  Do not boil. Stir often.

Note:  I only use the tops of wild mushrooms. I remember reading somewhere to discard stems. Not sure if this is common practice.

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup…It’s What’s For Dinner.

Chicken Noodle Soup

November 8, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Soup | 35 Comments
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Is there anything better than a steaming bowl of chicken and noodle soup on a cold evening?  Simple, delicious and rumored to heal the ailing,  this soup is comfort food at its best. 

It’s not rocket science to throw a pot  together. No matter what you put in it, it’s going to be good, but I wanted to share with you my version that has evolved over the years. Seasoned just to our liking and with the addition of some sweet potato and fennel seed, it makes this one of our favorites. 

It’s a must to use those fat and plump homemade noodles. You can also buy homestyle noodles from the freezer section that are close to homemade. Even though I love them for other dishes, I try not to use dried egg noodles from the packaged pasta aisle at the market. 

Seems every one in our office has a cold, so I made a big crock pot of my Chicken Noodle Soup on Friday and delivered to my sniffling aching co-workers.  They commented that it sure is “handy” having me around.  🙂

Chicken Noodle Soup:

5 cups chicken stock
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 chopped carrots and 2 stalks celery chopped or 3 T. dried vegetable mix
3 green onions
1 dried bay leaf
1 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 Tbs minced flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a large pot, combine stock, sage, thyme, fennel, peppercorns, garlic, celery, carrots, onions, bay leaf, (or dried vegetable mix) Bring to a boil; reduce to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Meantime, cut chicken and sweet potato into bite size pieces and saute in olive oil until chicken cooked.

3. Add noodles to broth and cook until tender.

4. Add chicken and sweet potatoes and simmer for a few minutes for flavors to blend.

Chicken Noodle Soup…It’s what’s for Fighting the Cold.

I’m sending this to paradise for Deb’s Souper Sunday Feature

Ajiaco – Columbian Potato and Chicken Stew

October 18, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Posted in Soup | 30 Comments
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Plain and simple…I love soups and they’re popping up on blogs and food sites everywhere right now. So many soups are being made that I swear you could walk outside and smell the savory seasonings wafting across America.

I read somebody’s blog who had made an oriental soup and commented that “it was the best soup she had ever had in her life”. Man, I’ve had so many good soups it would b a big job to pick one as being the “best I’ve ever had in my life”. This is one that I’m posting today would make it to the top ten, oh, probably even the top five.  Googling Ajiaco took me to Wikipedia which tells us it’s usually made with three different varieties of Columbian potatoes and can be  garnished with a chunk of corn on the cob. I’ve had this recipe for such a long time, and my database doesn’t tell me where I found it, so I can’t give credit where credit is due.

It’s pretty simple. I think what makes it so doggone good is the use of the rotisserie chicken. I removed a lot of the skin, but did leave a few chunks in just for that added flavor. I also like to simmer this soup with some of the larger bones in, removing them at the end. Add a dollop of  “Better than Bouillon” and you’ve got a wonderful tasting broth. 

After the soup is dished up, add in a swirl of heavy whipping cream and here’s where the real party starts…The toppings add all the excitement and move this simple soup right up into the excellent category. Cilantro, avocados and drumroll please for capers. A big delicious wow. 

Ajiaco (Columbian chicken and potato stew)

Chicken, whole — roasted
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
1 large onion — finely chopped
2 tsp dried oregano
4 medium potatoes — peeled and cubed
6 cups chicken broth (I used water and a huge dollop of Better Than Bouillon)
Accompaniments:
Cilantro
Heavy cream (Mexican Crema even better)
Capers — drained
Avocados — cubed

1. In a Dutch oven, saute onion in small amount of olive oil. Add chicken pieces, chicken broth three cubed potatoes.  Simmer until potatoes are tender. Grate one potato into soup mixture, simmer until tender. 

2.  Dish up the soup, swirl in the cream and sprinkle on toppings.

Southwestern Corn Chowder

October 5, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Posted in Soup | 14 Comments
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I know, I know, everyone has a corn chowder recipe, but I thought I’d chime in with my Southwestern take on this delicious classic. 

Starting out with fresh Silver Queen Colorado sweet corn, I add some roasted Hatch chiles and some thyme leaves from my garden. I  kick it up with some red chili flakes, cream it up with sour cream and carb it up with grated potato. I finish with a festive bouquet of cilantro, shredded cheese and sliced green onions and you’ve got yourself a slightly different and delicious twist.  Take a look:

Southwestern Sweet Corn Chowder:

  • 2 stalks celery, rough chopped
  • 1 medium onion, rough chopped
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and grated
  • 2 T. fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 roasted Hatch chiles, skins removed, chopped/divided
  • 1/2 t. red chili flakes
  • 3 C. chicken broth
  • 1/4 C. sour cream
  • 2 C. sweet corn, blanched and kernels removed from cob
  • For garnish:
  • 1/4 C. cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 green onions sliced thin
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Chopped Hatch chiles

 In a soup pot heat olive oil until hot. Add onion and celery and saute until tender.  Add chicken broth and thyme leaves and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add in the sweet corn. With the larger size grater holes, grate potato into soup. Add grated cheddar cheese and chopped Hatch chiles. Simmer for another five minutes. Stir in 1/4  cup sour cream. Partially blend the soup with an immersion blender.

Ladle into bowls. Top with a few of the chopped chilis, green onions and some chopped cilantro.

Southwestern Corn Chowder,,,

It’s What’s For Dinner.

Ranch Style Tortilla Soup

June 12, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Posted in Mexican/Southwest, Soup | 29 Comments
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Before we get to the soup, I must tell you that my husband drug home a can of Spam the other day. I was pretty sure I had never…ever…not once eaten Spam. 

So, just as one would call their mother to ask about the occurence of a childhood disease, I phoned home to ask if I had ever had Spam when I was a kid. She confirmed that I had not. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t come from a family of food snobs, lord knows I’ve eaten my share of cold Franco American Spaghetti-O’s out of the can…but it appears I’ve never eaten Spam. 

Got me thinking, besides Spam…I’ve never eaten eel…and in spite of  my geographical location, I’ve never had Rocky Mountain Oysters…

In your comments, I’d love to hear a couple of things that you’ve never eaten.  I’ll let you know what we do with the Spam.

So with that out of the way, let’s talk about something I’ve eaten a lot of…Tortilla Soup.

I know, it’s Summer, but I don’t need to be sitting around in front of the fireplace wrapped up in my hot pink Snuggie with two feet of snow on the ground to enjoy a delicious bowl of soup. Especially when it’s one of my favorites like Tortilla Soup. 

About the photo…I promise there’s a big bowl of wonderfully seasoned brothy goodness underneath all those hearty chunky toppings…and lots of it.

A couple of weeks ago, Heather over at Girlichef  threw out a Tortilla Soup Challenge. Since it’s one of my all-time favorite soups and a great movie, I was “IN”. I combined some things I liked from a couple of recipes, added a couple of my own ideas. Here’s my end result:

(Highlands) Ranch Style Tortilla Soup

  • 2 fresh Poblano peppers, large diced
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, large diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 28 ounces of chicken stock (I used homemade, or two cans)
  • 1 can undrained diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup Rotel tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup fresh sweet corn kernels
  • 2 chicken breasts without skin, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Goya Bitter Orange-flavored Adobo Seasoning (optional as it can be hard to find)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Corn tortilla chips, slightly crushed by hand
  • Fresh chopped cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Diced avocado
  • Lime Wedges

1.  In a Dutch oven over medium to medium high heat, cook peppers and onions for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Add cumin seeds, garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, about two minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, corn and simmer for about 5 minutes.

2.  In the meantime, in a fry pan, heat olive oil to medium high. Add bite sized pieces of chicken breast and cook stirring almost constantly, until browned and cooked almost through. While cooking, sprinkle the chicken with the orange-flavored Goya Adobo Seasoning.

3.  Add chicken to soup pot and simmer a couple of minutes to finish cooking the chicken.

4.  To serve, ladle soup into soup bowls, top with broken up corn chips, Monterey Jack cheese, a dollop of sour cream, diced avocado and sprinkle with cilantro. Take one of those wedges of lime and squeeze over the whole bowl. Take a big soup spoon, swirl and enjoy.

Tortilla Soup,

It’s What’s For Dinner.

Also shipping this across the Pacific for Deb’s Souper Super. 

Spicy Lentil Soup

March 5, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Posted in Soup | 25 Comments
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This recipe comes to you with no story, no history, it’s anecdote free, and no bla…bla…bla from me. I give you just a tasty soup recipe that I’ve had for years.  

Ok, truth is, I’ve had an inCREDibly busy week at work and I just haven’t got any bla…bla…bla left.  I’m on the official countdown to the weekend.

This is pretty easy to prepare. Once you’ve diced and chopped there’s one hour cooking time. Then grab your immersion blender and puree. Top with some onion rings, serve a side of your favorite fresh green garden salad, a chunk of crusty bread and you’ve got a great dinner.  

The vibrant color comes from a combination of the red lentils, carrots and turmeric.  Beautiful to look at and loaded with flavor, I recommend you give it a try. (Did I mention it’s healthy as all get-out?)

Spicy Lentil Soup

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 t. cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1/2 t. chili powder
  • 1/2 t. turmeric
  • 1 t. ground coriander (plus I added a couple sprigs of cilantro)
  • 6 oz. red lentils (washed)
  • 5 cups of vegetable stock (I used chicken stock)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Fried onion rings and fresh tarragon sprig for garnish (I used those awful canned onion rings and garnished with a sprig of cilantro)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds. When seeds begin to pop, add onion and cook until golden. Add garlic, carrots and celery and cook gently 10 minutes. Stir in all spices and cook 1 minute, then add lentils.

Pour in stock. Add bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Remove bay leaf. Process the soup to a puree. Season with salt and pepper. Gently reheat. Garnish with fried onion rings and tarragon sprig.  Six servings.

I used those canned onion rings because they were in the pantry left over from a mandatory Thanksgiving recipe for Green Bean casserole that I forgot to make. Wouldn’t this be beautiful with real live, real deal fried onion rings? Yum.

Spicy Lentil Soup,

It’s What’s For Dinner.

This soup is on its way across the Pacific to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her wonderful segment, Souper Sunday! 

Poblano Albóndigas with Ancho Chile Soup

February 21, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Posted in Soup | 31 Comments
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One of my Christmas gifts this year was a subscription to Bon Appetit Magazine. I saw this recipe for Poblano Meatball Soup in the first issue I received and fell in love. 

While this dish is incredibly delicious, it is somewhat of a production to make. This Saturday was cold and snowy in Denver, so I couldn’t think of a better time to spend a couple of leisurely hours in the kitchen with this recipe. 

Pungent, earthy, cleverly spiced, complex, and just full of unexpected little delights, this soup will not disappoint. Not falling short in presentation, the brick-red color of the broth is really breathtaking. The meatballs are genius in many ways and the addition of grated zucchini adds a delicate moistness to their texture. So with all that said, here’s the recipe. 

The gathered ingredients in advance.  I’m a huge fan of poblano chilis. 

The Meatballs
2 large fresh poblano chiles (9 to 10 ounces total)
1 pound ground beef (15% fat)
1/2 cup coarsely grated zucchini
1/4 cup finely grated onion
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 large egg, beaten to blend
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican), crumbled
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

For The Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small onion, coarsely grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons pure ancho chile powder or pasilla chile powder* (do not use blended chile powder)
9 cups low-salt beef broth
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 cup coarsely grated zucchini
1/4 cup long-grain white rice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lime juice
Toppings
3 tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil
4 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
Chopped fresh cilantro
*Available in the spice section of many supermarkets and at Latin markets.
Preparation
Meatballs
Line large rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Char chiles over direct flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag and steam 10 minutes. Stem, seed, and peel chiles, then chop finely (should yield about 3/4 cup).
Place chiles in large bowl. Gently mix in beef and all remaining ingredients. Using moistened hands and scant tablespoonful for each, roll meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on sheet.
soup
Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion with any juices and garlic. Sauté until onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add chile powder and cumin; stir 1 minute. Add broth and oregano; bring to rolling boil. Reduce heat to very low, just below bare simmer, and cook 10 minutes.
Stir zucchini and rice into broth. Increase heat to medium and drop in meatballs, 1 at a time. Return soup to simmer. Cover and cook gently until meatballs and rice are cooked through, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat to avoid boiling, about 20 minutes. Add 1/4 cup cilantro and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Season soup with salt and add more lime juice by teaspoonfuls, if desired.
toppings
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy medium skillet over medium heat 1 minute. Add half of tortilla strips. Cook until crisp, gently separating strips with tongs, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer strips to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining tortilla strips, adding more oil if needed.
Ladle soup and meatballs into bowls. Top with tortilla strips and cilantro.

Fabulous.  Can’t wait for leftovers tonight and I’m sure as with most soups, it will be better the 2nd time around.

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