I’ve been trying to figure out for a couple of days what to do with the poblano chiles I picked up earlier this week. And I have made chile rellenos on many occasion. Just wasn’t in the mood for that this time. With the weather being a bit cooler, this soup seemed to hit the spot. I searched a few recipes, but found one that stood out. Luckily I had the rest of the ingredients on hand needed to make it. But I did make a few adjustments and improvised along the way.
I will say it took quite a few tries to get the final pic above. Different angles, lighting, not lighting, etc. But it was well worth it in the end, and the soup was still hot when I was done!
1 pound of ground beef
2 large fresh poblano chiles
1/2 cup coarsely grated zucchini
1/4 cup finely grated onion
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican) crumbled
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Char the poblano chiles in the broiler or over direct heat on the stove. I lined a baking sheet with foil and put them under the broiler. This helps to eliminate dishes and also makes it go much faster. When they are blackened on all sides, place them in a brown paper bag and fold top a couple times to steam for about 10 minutes. Peel, stem, and seed the chiles. Then finely chop them. The finer you chop the smoother the meatballs will be. I prepped the peppers yesterday. It helped cut the prep time for today.
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with your hands. Roll 1-inch meatballs and place in a bowl or on a plate and set to the side.
Oh, the original recipe called for 3 tablespoons of cumin. I like cumin and all, but I thought that was way too much. It’s such a strong spice. A little goes a long way. So I cut it down to 1 teaspoon.
For this, I brought out one of my favorite kitchen items, the dutch oven. It’s great for many things, but I love to use it for soup.
1/2 small onion coarsely grated
2 garlic cloves pressed
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 cups low sodium beef stock or broth
3 tablespoons pure ancho chile powder (or pasilla)
1 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano crumbled
1/4 cup long grain white rice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
1 tablespoon lime (optional)
So I ended up chopping the onion instead of grating it. I figured finely chopped was just as good. Plus anytime I have to use the grater with a small object I am always reminded of the incident I had in my baking class in culinary school. I had to make carrot cake made with fresh grated carrots. I’ll spare you the details, but I still have a scar on my hand. Badge of honor now is how I see it. Back to the soup…you can save time with the garlic and onion if you chop enough once for the meatballs and the soup. And I only needed one large zucchini between the meatballs and soup.
I also didn’t have ancho chile in powder form on hand. I had to grind it in my spice grinder from the dried pepper itself. I keep a supply of them in my freezer.
Heat the oil in the pot until shimmering. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender about 3-4 minutes. Add the ancho chile powder and sauté another minute. Add the stock and oregano and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir in rice. Drop the meatballs in gently one at a time. Cook about ten minutes and then add zucchini. Cook another 10 minutes and add cilantro. Taste for seasoning and add salt as needed.
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
4 corn tortillas cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
chopped fresh cilantro
In a nonstick skillet heat oil until shimmering. Add the tortilla strips and cook until crisp. Use tongs to separate the strips while they cook. You can do this in two batches if your pan isn’t big enough. I did it in one batch.
Ladle the soup in a bowl and top with tortilla crisps and cilantro. I will say it did not disappoint, and I would definitely make it again. My mother’s albondiga (meatball) soup recipe is still my favorite (probably emotional attachment), but this is a close second.