Chicken Meatballs With Molokhieh, Garlic, and Cilantro
['1¾ oz/50g crustless sourdough bread, finely blitzed into crumbs, or 1 large zucchini (½ lb/220g), coarsely grated', '1 lb 2 oz/500g ground chicken or turkey thighs', '2 garlic cloves, crushed', '1½ tsp ground cumin', '1 tsp ground cinnamon', '½ tsp ground allspice', '¼ tsp chile flakes', '½ cup/10g cilantro leaves, roughly chopped', '½ cup/10g parsley leaves, roughly chopped', '½ cup/10g mint leaves, roughly chopped', '1 lemon: grate finely to get 1½ tsp zest, then cut into wedges', 'Salt and black pepper', '2 tbsp olive oil', '2 garlic cloves, crushed', '1 lemon: shave the rind to get 4 strips, then juice to get 1½ tbsp', '1¾ cups/450ml chicken stock', '1¾ lb/800g frozen molokhieh (or 1¾ lb/800g frozen chopped spinach plus 7 oz/200g okra, thinly sliced—see note below)', '½ tsp ground cinnamon', 'Salt and black pepper', '½ cup/10g parsley leaves, roughly chopped', '1 cup/20g cilantro leaves, roughly chopped', '¼ cup olive oil', '6 garlic cloves, crushed', '½ tsp chile flakes', '½ cup cilantro', 'roughly chopped']
To make the meatballs, place the breadcrumbs in a small bowl and cover with water. Stir, then drain through a colander, squeezing out most of the moisture from the bread. (If using grated zucchini, toss it with ½ tsp of salt and place in a sieve set over a bowl. Let to sit for 20 minutes, then use your hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.)
Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl with the chicken, garlic, spices, herbs, lemon zest, ¾ tsp salt, and plenty of black pepper. Using well-oiled hands, shape into about 30 small balls; roughly a scant 1 oz/25g each.
Put 1 tbsp of oil into a large nonstick sauté pan with a lid, and place over high heat. Once hot, add half the meatballs and cook for 2–3 minutes, turning throughout, until golden brown all over. Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet and set aside. Keep the pan on the heat and continue with the remaining 1 tbsp of oil and remaining meatballs in the same way.
Return the same pan to medium-high heat. Add the 2 garlic cloves, lemon rind, and stock and bring to a boil—this should take about 3 minutes. Add the molokhieh (or the spinach and okra combination), cinnamon, 2 tsp of salt, and plenty of black pepper, then decrease the heat to medium and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the molokhieh is bubbling and completely defrosted. Add the meatballs, parsley, and ½ cup/10g of cilantro and cook, covered, for another 10 minutes, or until completely cooked through. Stir in the lemon juice.
To make the adha, meanwhile, put the olive oil into a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until golden and crispy. Add the chile flakes, then remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Stir in the cilantro and set aside.
Divide the soup among four bowls and top with the fried garlic and remaining ½ cup/10g cilantro. Serve at once, with lemon wedges alongside.
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