this is one of my absolute favorite recipes. It is a soup , which is also a full meal. It is hearty and pretty healthy. It is one of my staples from September through April. It freezes well and you can just take it out of the freezer the night before, and you’ll have a wonderful meal the next evening. When you defrost it you will probably want to add broth/water to it. add a little at a time till you get the consisitency you like. Enjoy:)
Ingredients: chicken balls
1 lb. ground chicken
1/2 lb chicken sausage, casings removed
3 slices whole wheat bread for bread crumbs ( I put into food proccesor with steel blade for crumbs) i remove crusts . should be app. 1 cup of bread crumbs *see note below on fresh bread crumbs
2 teaspoons minced garlic ( 2 – 3 cloves)
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano ( fresh is best) but whatever you have will do
1/4 cup grated Parmesan ( again nothing beats fresh) but whatever you have will do here as well
3 tablespoons milk
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small -medium yellow onion minced
1 cup diced carrots ( 3 )
1 cup diced celery (2 stalks)
10 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine( use whatever you have open)
1 cup small pasta tubetini, ditalini, stars, etc.
5 ounces fresh spinach, washed and trimmed. you can also use chopped kale.
*fresh dill ( I love the flavor) add at your own discretion about 1/4 cup minced fresh dill.
preheat the oven to 350 degrees put parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
for the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage,bread crumbs, garlic, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, salt and pepper all in a bowl and mix well with a fork. I use a teaspoon, and make 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls and drop onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet. you should have about 30 to 40 small balls. bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. set them aside. (I made about 30 balls, they were a little larger this time out)
For the Soup:
heat the olive oil over medium – low heat in a large heavy bottomed soup pot ( Le Creuset type pot) Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, about 10 minutes, don’t brown. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil, at this point I let soup cook a while to soften the vegetables, app. 1 hour. ( a low simmer) if you’re in a hurry you can probably do the whole soup in 1/2 hour , veggies will be soft enough to eat. if some of the liquid evaporates you can always add a little more broth.
Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook another 6 – 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the meatballs and simmer for another minute or so. taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for another minute or so, the spinach will just wilt. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
*a little note on fresh bread crumbs. Stale bread works well and I always have some bread in the freezer so I usually use that. You can also use a blender if you don’t want to use a food processor. The crumbs will keep in the freezer almost indefinitely. Just stick the crumbs in the microwave for a few seconds to take the chill out of them before using. I try to always make extra breadcrumbs and then I always have enough for the next time I make meatballs!