I was hired by a client recently to prepare a surprise romantic dinner for his wife in honor of their 5th anniversary. During the initial consultation, I learned that she was a huge fan of Mexican cuisine especially fajitas and spicy dishes, Italian Wedding (or Meatball) soup, chicken, cheesecake, and white Sangria. I also found out that he did not drink alcohol, although she did. The dinner was to be 5 courses so I needed to prepare a menu that included the following courses: appetizer, soup, intermezzo, main, and dessert.
For the appetizer, I selected a simple trio of mini grilled fajitas: one pork, one chicken, and one beef along with sauteed peppers and onions and poblano crema (a spicy Mexican sour cream), guacamole and salsa (both homemade). I knew I wanted to do a sorbet for the intermezzo and eventually chose to do a homemade Mango sorbet which went well with the theme. The main course was a spicy and bittersweet Mexican Mole Chicken served over pan-fried corn off the cob and black beans and rice. For dessert, I made a homemade cheesecake with a fruit salsa of strawberry, kiwi, and banana. Since she loved White Sangria I went with an recipe I had already saved and found a recipe for Mock Champagne for him.
For the soup course, I was a bit stumped until I began to research Italian Wedding soup and saw that its origins were Spanish. I also learned that Wedding soup was also called Meatball soup. Using these facts, I decided to do a take on the Italian Wedding (Meatball) soup and prepare a Albondigas Soup (Albondigas means “meatball”).
They absolutely LOVED the entire meal and the husband especially liked the soup! It was very good and definitely something I will add to my repertoire. The distinctive flavor comes from the fresh mint used in the meatballs and it can also be added directly into the soup itself depending on your tastes. Here’s the recipe so you can try it for yourself!