Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Balley Soup

Guess what?  This is not an Irish soup, like I thought from the name.  It is in fact Lebanese.  Cute little meatballs dropped into a flavoursome soup - you can't go wrong with that.  The original recipe which I found in a Woolworths' Fresh magazine, is by a reader called Jane (no other info).  She says it is specific to a village called Beit Shalala in Lebanon.  This is my spiced up version of it, as her recipe is simple, with no onion, garlic or chillies, and no spice except cinnamon.  Sorry people, but I just can't leave things alone:=) 

cute little meatballs ready for the pot 

(Recipe adapted by Sherry's Pickings)

Serves 4:



500g. beef mince

1/2 tsp sea salt, and black pepper to taste - maybe 8 grinds of the mill

2 tsp dukkah (optional)

1-2 tsp dried parsley or 1-2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 tsp mountain pepperberry or spice of your choice


1 tbs olive oil

1 tbs butter

1 large brown onion, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 red chillies, finely chopped

1 tin (410g.) of crushed tomatoes or tomato purée

1/2 tsp sumac

1-2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp sugar

3 tbs parsley, chopped

1/3 cup white rice

2-3 cups chicken stock

1/2-1 cup of boiling water - if needed

1/2 cup frozen baby green peas, thawed in (more) boiling water

1 tin (400g.) chick peas, drained


Throw the beef mince and the seasonings, etc into a medium mixing bowl

Mix up well with your hands and form into small balls (about 1 tbs per ball)

Heat the oil and butter together in a large saucepan

Fry the onion, garlic and chillies for about 5 minutes till starting to go golden

Now plop the meatballs into the pan and let them go brown, shaking now and then - this should only take a few minutes

Add the tomatoes, sumac, cinnamon, sugar, 2 tbs of the parsley, rice and stock to the pan

Bring it to the boil (on medium heat), then turn to low

Let it simmer away for about an hour, partially covered - keep an eye on it, and add some boiling water if it's getting too thick

Add the baby peas and chick peas, and let them warm through

Check for seasoning and add more sugar, salt and pepper if needed

Cast on the other tablespoon of parsley, and serve with chunky bread

roll your cute little meatballs together 

chop your parsley

drop those balls into the pan

I had put in a bit of water first, as the recipe states, but decided afterwards that frying up the onion, etc first was a better way to go.  So that's what I suggest - add the stock after the aromates and meatballs have been fried.

let it simmer away for about an hour

oops- sorry not a great photo

This is a tasty soup, great with a thick piece of sourdough or pane di casa bread.  It doesn't come up that well in a night-time photo, but rest assured, your tastebuds will be happy.


Jane's recipe calls for 2 tsp of cinnamon.  I found this overpowering so I suggest trying it with one tsp first

Her recipe can in fact be found on her blog Quilt Jane, posted in May 2011


  1. I'm a big fan of meatballs so including them in a soup suits me just fine. I'd happily eat this.

    1. it's a nice warming soup for winter lorraine. cheers S

  2. I am cooking for the kids right now and this would be a super recipe to try. And I have sooo much dukkah I need to find ways to use it up :)

    1. i know what you mean about the dukkah. i have heaps, some I made and some I was given so I really need to use it up soon. cheers S

  3. i can attest to the deliciousness of this one. really nice, especially with a bit of heavier bread as Mrs P says.

  4. I can't leave things alone either, so I end up tinkering with a lot of recipes! Don't think I'd tinker with this one, though -- looks darn good just as you've written it. Thanks!

  5. What a great soup! I love the sunlight streaming into your kitchen!

    1. thanks Mimi. we are lucky to have a very bright kitchen. cheers S

  6. Delicious! Husband & 3 teenagers all devoured it. Next time I'll increase the amount so there's leftovers


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