This hearty meatball soup is thickened with brown rice and flavored with sweet apricots and fragrant herbs. The topping of creamy yogurt and freshly chopped herbs takes it from delicious to divine!
This Persian 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.
My inspiration for this soup comes from a recipe in Naomi Duguid’s wonderful cookbook, Taste of Persia: ‘Dried Apricot Soup with Wheat Berries.’ I loved the rich flavorful broth but made a few changes to suit my personal taste. Most significantly, 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 and it adds great texture to soup. You can absolutely use wheat berries or farro, if you prefer either of those grains to brown rice.
How to make Persian Meatball Soup
To minimize your time in the kitchen, make the meatballs and cut the potatoes while the broth is simmering.
- Start The Soup: In a large heavy pot, sauté shallots until they soften. Add brown rice, apricots and 5 cups of chicken broth. Simmer the broth for 30 minutes.
- Shape and cook the meatballs: While the broth simmers, mix, roll, and sauté the tiny meatballs, and dice the potatoes.
- Finish the Soup: Once the soup has simmered for 30 minutes, add the meatballs, potatoes, and dried herbs, and simmer for 15-20 minutes longer, until the rice and potatoes are tender and all the flavors are melded.
- To Serve: Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Top each bowl with a heaping tablespoon of yogurt and two heaping teaspoons of fresh herbs.
This Persian meatball soup is definitely substantial enough for dinner. A light green salad makes a great accompaniment.
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!)
If you love meatballs, here are a few other delicious recipes to try:
- Turkey Zucchini Meatballs from Yotam Ottolenghi
- Turkey Falafel Meatballs with Lemon Yogurt Sauce
- Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Ratatouille
Here’s Persian meatball soup recipe. If you cook this, I hope you’ll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I’d love to know what you think.Print
Persian Meatball Soup Recipe
A warming hearty soup with brown 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 raw 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
- 3/4 cup 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 and toss it around in the pot until all the grains are well-coated with oil. Add the apricots and 5 cups of chicken broth. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook, uncovered, 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 and set the heat to medium-high. Brown the meatballs on all sides, 4-5 minutes total.
- Finish The Soup: Once the soup has simmered for 30 minutes, add the meatballs, potatoes, remaining 3 cups of broth, dried thyme (1 teaspoon), dried mint (1 teaspoon), and salt (1 teaspoon). Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes longer, or until the rice and potatoes are 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