Yield
Makes 4 servings

"I'm Armenian, but I was born in Israel and lived in Iraq," says Zov Karamardian of Zov's Bistro in Tustin, California. "When I was growing up, my mother made dumplings with meat inside that she cooked in nice broth. I love that dish (kouba hamoud). Every time my mother comes, I make her cook it."

How to Make It

Step 1

Mix rice cereal with 1/3 cup cold water; let stand at least 5 minutes.

Step 2

Meanwhile, in a 5- to 6-quart nonstick pan, stir half the onion and 1 teaspoon garlic over medium-high heat until limp, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, broth, and rice. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until rice is tender to bite, 12 to 15 minutes.

Step 3

As rice cooks, mix beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Step 4

Mix half the beef mixture with one-fourth of the rice cereal mixture, remaining onion and garlic, 1 tablespoon mint, and parsley.

Step 5

In a food processor, whirl remaining beef mixture and remaining rice cereal mixture until it is a sticky paste.

Step 6

Shape each of the meat mixtures into 4 oval pieces. In your palm, flatten 1 piece of the beef paste until it's 1/4 inch thick. Lay a coarse-beef oval over the thin piece and fold paste around it, shaping into a 3-inch-long football.

Step 7

Repeat to form each meatball, and as shaped, drop into simmering broth.

Step 8

Simmer over low heat, covered, turning meatballs once, until no longer pink in center (cut to test), about 10 minutes.

Step 9

Add lemon juice, remaining mint, and salt and pepper to taste. Ladle meatball soup into bowls.

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