My father passed away three days before 9/11 in 2001; he’d been diagnosed with cancer just 18 months prior and even though we knew what was coming, I’m not sure you’re really ever prepared for someone you love to pass from this life into the next. My family is spread all over the country and we all took shifts in traveling to Washington during his illness; my brother from California, a sister in Arizona, me in Indiana and our youngest sister, on the same street as my parents – and we were fortunate to make it home before the towers fell and all air travel came to a halt for several days following.
Because I’d lived in Olympia for several years before moving to Indiana, I still had friends in the area who wanted to help – who wanted to feed us while we worked on gathering photographs and family memories to share at both a funeral and a memorial service. My dear friend Julie, brought a version of this soup over to my parents’ home in a large pot; a loaf of bread was set on the counter and a tossed salad was placed in the refrigerator – that pot of soup nourished all of us for those first few terrible days.
I’ve revised the soup many times over the last 13 years; this gluten-free version comes together quickly by using Sabra Salsa in lieu of chopping onions and peppers, but it’s still one of our favorites. And instead of making meatballs from scratch, I substitute Andouille sausage – hot soup is ready in about 30-minutes.
And when I pull out the recipe and begin assembling this soup, I’m transported back to that day Julie showed up on our doorstep with this pot of soup – bittersweet but filled with good memories of love and care for our family.
This past July, Sabra invited us to visit the tomato fields in California to see how their tomatoes are grown; we also had the chance to sit down with their team and learn about the process of how Sabra makes their salsas – hand-picked tomatoes, freshly chopped onions and peppers and then packaged within 36-hours.
If you watch the short video clip above, you might, just might catch The Professor singing . . .
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and we are being compensated by Sabra for sharing this information with our readers; however, as always, all opinions are my own.
GLUTEN-FREE SPICY MEATBALL SOUP
Serves 6 as a main course
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 3, 16-ounce containers Sabra Restaurant-style Salsa (medium)
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 1-1/2 pounds spicy andouille sausage, pinched or cut off into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup long-grain brown rice
- Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat; add 2 garlic cloves and bay leaves and sauté 5 minutes
- Add broth, salsa, tomatoes with juices, and 1/4 cup cilantro if using, sausage, cumin and rice; and a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper; bring to boil
- Cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or until rice is tender
- Adjust seasonings to taste if necessary; ladle soup into bowls and serve – sprinkle with remaining cilantro (optional)