Monday, May 3, 2010

Mexican Meatballs in Toasted Garlic Ancho chile Broth

Mexican Meatballs in Toasted Garlic-Ancho Chile Broth
Serves about 4
1 lb Mexican meatball sausage
2 large dried red chiles, preferably ancho
7 c water
One fourth c extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
10 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
12 baguette slices, about one half inch thick
1 c canned tomato sauce
Three fourths tsp kosher salt
2 Tbs heavy cream, whipped until thick
Make the meatballs and set them aside in the refrigerator.
To prepare the chiles, stem them and shake out the seeds, leaving the pods more or less whole. In a small saucepan, combine the chile pods and 2 c water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and simmer until plumped up and soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool until the chiles can be handled. Lift out the pods and reserve the water. Slit open each chile, scrape the pulp off the skin, and discard the skin. Add the pulp to the reserved water and set aside.
To make the soup, heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until beginning to turn golden, about one minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer to large pot. Working in batches to avoid crowding, toast the bread slices in the same sauté pan, turning and adding more oil as necessary to keep them from being dry roasted and until lightly golden on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes for each batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. When all the bread is toasted, set the slices aside.
Again, working in batches to avoid crowding, brown the meatballs in the same pan over medium-high heat, adding oil as needed, until golden all around, about 5 minutes. Transfer carefully to the pot with the garlic as you go. Add the tomato sauce, the remaining 5 cups of water, the salt, and the reserved cooking water with the chile pulp to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease heat to maintain a brisk simmer, partially cover the pot, and cook until the garlic is soft and the meatballs are tender, about 20 minutes.
Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Garnish each with 2 or three toasted slices and a dollop of the cream.

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