Let’s talk soup. Without much exaggeration, Australians only eat pumpkin or pea & ham soup, only in winter and usually both are blended to the consistency of baby food. Latvians, on the other hand, would have tens of soup varieties, eaten all year round and with chunky meat and vegetables in them.
When I was growing up, meatball soup (frikadeļu zupa) was my brother’s favourite dish. As far as I can remember my grandparents made it so often that I developed a mild dislike for it and my brother is a vegetarian now (not sure if decision was soup related). Nevertheless, my kids love the meatball soup. It is light and easy to make, usually served with a dollop of sour cream and rye bread. For a twist, add some finely diced pickles when serving, as my grandma does.
- 2 litres water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 stock cube (optional)
- black peppercorns
- 4 medium carrots
- 4 potatoes
- 500g beef mince
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon pepper for seasoning
- 1 large gherkin (optional)
- sour cream for serving
- Peel and finely slice carrots. Peel and dice potatoes.
- Place the carrots, bay leaf, peppercorn, stock cube and the water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Add diced potatoes, bring back to a boil and simmer for additional 3 - 5 minutes.
- While carrots and potatoes are simmering, place mince, egg, breadcrumbs and pepper in a medium bowl and mix together. With wet hands form small balls (size of a teaspoon).
- Add the balls to the saucepan and simmer on low heat for about 15-20 minutes, until vegetables and meatballs have cooked through.
- Ladle the soup in bowls and add a tablespoon of sour cream.
This amount of soup would be enough for 4 people for a proper lunch or 6-8 people as an entree. You can sprinkle some finely chopped parsley or dill when serving for additional flavour.