There’s nothing better than a big pot of soup in the Winter – and this has been the longest one..ever. I’ve always loved my Gram’s Minestrone soup – chock full of veggies, ground beef and pasta and thought I would make a spin on it by making it a combination of her Minestrone and Italian Wedding Soup just for fun. I made a batch of chicken meatballs with lots of parmesan cheese, garlic, onion and fresh parsley..browned them up a bit before adding some kale, carrots, chickpeas, chopped tomatoes and orzo and let it all simmer up into a big batch of healthy, heartwarming goodness. I topped it off with some extra grated parmesan, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper and mopped it up with some fresh baked Italian Rosemary bread from Todaro Bros. down the street.
Who says you can’t have some fun during a blizzard? I’m happy as a clam right now. Or as a meatball, bathing in that gorgeous broth with veggies.
- Chicken Meatballs:
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs (plain, dried)
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon minced dried onion
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Tony Chacere's Creole Seasoning (or sub seasoned salt or poultry seasoning)
- pinch of cayenne
- pinch of nutmeg
- dash of red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Deliciously Dill Blend (The Spice Hunter)
- Sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 20 baby carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water (use 3 or 4 if you like a thinner soup)
- 1 (28 ounce) can chopped Italian tomatoes
- 1 bunch kale, torn (ribs and stems removed)
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 cup orzo or other small pasta (ditalini, pastina, risi or stars)
- Make the meatballs:
- Preheat a dutch oven over medium heat and spray with some cooking oil.
- Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir. Mix together well with your hands and roll into small meatballs (about 1 1/2 inch size), place on a baking sheet or plate.
- Brown meatballs in batches for about 6-8 minutes until lightly golden brown (but not cooked all the way through).
- Remove meatballs, cover and set aside while prepping soup ingredients.
- Make the soup:
- Add additional 2 tablespoons of oil to the Dutch oven and saute onions, garlic and carrots for about 6 minutes until soft and translucent.
- Stir in broth, water, and tomatoes; cook over medium-high for about 5-7 minutes until liquid comes to a boil.
- Add kale, chickpeas, orzo to the pot, let soup come to a steady rolling boil for about 5 mins or so.
- Add browned meatballs, cover and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until orzo and meatballs are cooked through. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve in large soup bowls topped with additional grated parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley for garnish and a side of crusty Italian bread or Rosemary Foccacia bread for mopping up the soup.
- Don't forget the wine, fireplace, and your Valentine to make it a complete meal.
Recipe adapted from my Grandma’s Classic Minestrone Soup and Italian Wedding Soup by Whole Foods.