- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup thinly sliced shallots (3-4 medium shallots)
- 1 cup brown rice, rinsed and drained (or substitute 1 cup farro or 1 cup wheat berries)
- 1½ cups dried apricots – about 2 dozen – each apricot sliced in half. (My favorite are the organic unsulphured apricots)
- 8 cups low salt chicken broth, divided
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more, to taste
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and grated on a box grater
- ¾ pound yellow flesh potatoes, cut into ½-inch dice (3 small potatoes)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1½ cups plain yogurt
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- ¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- Start The Soup: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Sauté the shallots for 3-4 minutes, until they soften. Add the rice toss it around in the pot until all the grains are coated with oil. Add the apricots and 5 cups of chicken broth. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cook at a strong simmer for 30 minutes.
- Shape and cook the meatballs: While the soup is simmering mix the ground beef with the onion and 1 teaspoon salt. Roll into small (1-inch) balls. (30-32 meatballs) Spread a tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of a large skillet. Add the meatballs to the skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. Brown the meatballs on all sides, 4-5 minutes total. Remove from heat.
- Finish The Soup: Once the soup has simmered for 30 minutes, add the meatballs, potatoes, remaining 3 cups of broth, dried thyme, dried mint, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Turn the heat to high to bring the pot to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes longer, or until the rice is tender. Remove from heat. Cover the pot and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- To Serve: Ladle soup into individual bowls. Top each bowl with a heaping tablespoon of yogurt and a heaping teaspoon of each of the fresh herbs.