Following other blogs is a great way to discover new recipes. I saw a Mexican shrimp meatball soup on my blogging buddy’s Kathryn’s blog, Anotherfoodieblogger. Regular albóndigas from Spain are meatballs cooked in tomato sauce, but these shrimp balls are cooked in something that is more like a tomato soup. You should buy shrimp with heads and shells for this recipe, so you can use those to make the stock. When I saw the recipe, I commented that it might be nice to puree the soup. And that is exactly what I did. I’ve looked at some more recipes on Mexican sites and noticed there are many variations. Here is my take on this dish. I am very happy with how it turned out: slightly exotic and elegant, with just a touch of heat and without overpowering the lovely shrimp flavor. Thanks for the inspiration, Kathryn!
For 3 or 4 servings as an appetizer, or 2 servings as a main course (if you add some bread and a salad)
500 grams (1.1 lbs) shrimp with heads and shells, about 250 grams (.55 lb) peeled
2 onions, divided
1 carrot, minced
2 celery sticks, divided
1 garlic clove, divided
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp tomato paste (double concentrated)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 egg yolk
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and minced
25 grams (2 1/2 Tbsp) flour
250 ml (1 cup) tomato puree (sieved tomatoes)
fresh cilantro, minced, for garnish
2 Tbsp olive oil
Peel the shrimp and reserve the heads and shells, but them in a casserole or Dutch oven. Refrigerate the shrimp meat.
Add a chopped onion, a chopped celery stick, and a bay leaf.
Add 750 ml (3 cups) of water, everything should be barely covered, and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Prepare the shrimp mixture while the stock is simmering. Devein the shrimp meat (i.e. cut open the backs with a pairing knife and remove and discard the black yucky stuff you find in there). In the bowl of the food processor combine the shrimp meat with 25 grams of flour, a tablespoon of tomato paste, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper (1/16 tsp), an egg yolk, a tablespoon of minced onion, and half of a minced clove of garlic.
Pulse until you obtain a coarse puree, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Refrigerate the shrimp mixture to allow it to firm up.
When the stock has finished simmering, strain it through a sieve and squeeze the liquid out of the shrimp heads to get all of the flavor that is in there. I like to use a chinois and pestle for this. Set the stock aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a casserole or Dutch oven. Add a minced carrot, onion (of which you used a bit for the shrimp mixture) and celery stick. Stir over medium heat…
…until the vegetables start to color. Then add the other half of the minced garlic clove, and stir for another minute.
Add 250 ml of sieved tomatoes.
Stir over medium heat for a couple of minutes or until it thickens.
Puree with an immersion blender…
…until the mixture is completely smooth.
Add the shrimp stock, and bring to a boil.
While you wait for the soup to come to a boil, form the shrimp mixture into balls. It will stick less if you moisten your hands first.
When the soup boils, taste and adjust the seasoning. I added 3/4 teaspoons of salt and 1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper. Then add the shrimp meatballs. Cover and cook them over very low heat in the soup until they are just cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes.
Serve the soup in deep plates. Garnish with minced jalapeño and cilantro.
We enjoyed this with a Fiano di Avellino, a fruity yet structured and full-bodied white from the hills near Naples in Italy.