This hearty meatball soup is thickened with brown rice and flavored with sweet tangy apricots, shallots, and fragrant herbs. The topping of creamy yogurt and freshly chopped herbs takes it from delicious to divine!
This meatball soup is like a delicious journey to a far away land. The broth is flavored with melted apricots, shallots, thyme and mint. The broth is sweet and rich. The abundance of meatballs and rice make this soup as satisfying as stew. The toppings of creamy yogurt and fresh herbs add a spectacular (not to be missed!) finishing touch.
Naomi Duguid’s new cookbook, Taste of Persia, gave me the inspiration for this recipe. The book is about the author’s travels through five countries that are linked by ancient Persian culinary traditions: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan. There are many wonderful stories and tempting recipes in Taste of Persia. The chapter that captivated me the most was entitled “Soup Paradise.”
I decided to try the exotic-sounding ‘Dried Apricot Soup with Wheat Berries.’ I made a few changes. I added meatballs, lots of tiny meatballs. I love meatball soup – especially when there’s a chill in the air. Also, I used brown rice instead of wheat berries, because brown rice is a staple in my pantry; it adds great texture to soup; and it’s gluten free. You can absolutely use wheat berries or farro, if you prefer either of those grains to brown rice.
For the meatballs I kept it really simple: a pound of ground beef mixed with grated onion and salt, rolled into tiny meatballs, and sautéd for a few minutes.
HERE’S HOW THE RECIPE GOES: PERSIAN MEATBALL SOUP WITH APRICOTS, BROWN RICE AND YOGURT
Sauté shallots. Add rice, broth and dried apricots. Simmer for 30 minutes. While the broth simmers, mix, roll, and sauté the tiny meatballs, and dice the potatoes.
Once the soup has simmered for 30 minutes, add the meatballs, potatoes, and dried herbs. Cook for for 15-20 minutes longer, until the potatoes are tender and all the flavors are melded.
Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top with a generous dollop of thick yogurt and a healthy sprinkling of fresh herbs. The toppings add wildly exciting flavors that harmonize beautifully with the comforting rich broth and hearty meatballs.
This Persian meatball soup is substantial enough for dinner. A green salad with a vinegar or lemon dressing is a great accompaniment. I served it with a simple salad of arugula, red onion and marinated beets (from the salad bar at Whole Foods), drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar – delicious!
I want to give thanks to Naomi Duguid for her inspiring recipe. I highly recommend her book Taste of Persia. My copy has dozens of sticky notes popping out, marking all the recipes I can’t wait to try: Potato and Pumpkin Soup, Pomegranate Ash with Meatballs, Emmer Mushroom Pilaf, Barbari Bread, Half Moon Hand Pies (just to name a few!)
Here’s the recipe for Persian Meatball Soup. If you make this, I’d love to hear what you think. I hope you’ll come back to leave a review and let me know how it turned out.Print
Persian Meatball Soup with Apricots, Brown Rice, and Yogurt
A warming hearty soup with rice and meatballs and vibrant flavors of apricots and fresh herbs.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
- Yield: 5-6 1x
- Category: Main Dish Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Persian, Georgian
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup thinly sliced shallots (3–4 medium shallots)
- 1 cup brown rice, rinsed and drained (or substitute 1 cup farro or 1 cup wheat berries)
- 1 1/2 cups dried apricots – about 2 dozen – each apricot sliced in half. (My favorite are the organic unsulphured apricots)
- 8 cups low salt chicken broth, divided
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more, to taste
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and grated on a box grater
- 3/4 pound yellow flesh potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (3 small potatoes)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- Start The Soup: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Sauté the shallots for 3-4 minutes, until they soften. Add the rice toss it around in the pot until all the grains are coated with oil. Add the apricots and 5 cups of chicken broth. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cook at a strong simmer for 30 minutes.
- Shape and cook the meatballs: While the soup is simmering mix the ground beef with the onion and 1 teaspoon salt. Roll into small (1-inch) balls. (30-32 meatballs) Spread a tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of a large skillet. Add the meatballs to the skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. Brown the meatballs on all sides, 4-5 minutes total. Remove from heat.
- Finish The Soup: Once the soup has simmered for 30 minutes, add the meatballs, potatoes, remaining 3 cups of broth, dried thyme, dried mint, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Turn the heat to high to bring the pot to a boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 15 minutes longer, or until the rice is tender. Remove from heat. Cover the pot and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- To Serve: Ladle soup into individual bowls. Top each bowl with a heaping tablespoon of yogurt and a heaping teaspoon of each of fresh herbs.
Keywords: meatball soup, Persian meatball soup