I like making soup from scratch. I’ve made more than a few versions of a standard chicken soup, with rice a noodles of course, tortilla soups, and a veggie-filled tomato soup that turned out delicious.. Though I usually follow my regular recipe, one of the things that I enjoy about soup is it’s versatility. Chicken soup can be changed – and improved – with only slight tweaks. A handful of green here. A pinch o spices there.Maybe some roasted fennel root, or a few rounds of zucchini. Whatever your taste, I’ve found that chicken soup should serve the purpose.
I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a while, for no real reason. In fact, I’d completely forgotten about it until last night, when I found the last container of this soup in the freezer while rustling around for dinner ideas. Sure, late June is an odd time to post about soup… but there will always be rainy days when you’re in need of something comforting. So store this one away.
As an additional note, I found the meatballs that I used for this recipe at B&E Meats in Newcastle, my new favorite places to find fresh (and smoked, and frozen) cuts of deliciousness. I found the pre-cooked veal meatballs, which were about an inch in diameter, in the freezer and used them as a jumping-off point for this recipe. The result was a rich and hearty version of Italian Wedding Soup, which I loaded up with kale.
For the record, this is easily the best use of kale I have found to date.
- 2 tbs butter
- 1 white onion – diced
- 3 carrots – chopped into rounds
- 4 stalks celery – chopped similar size as carrots
- 3 gloves of garlic – crushed
- salt and pepper – seasoned to taste
- 2 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
- 6 cups of chicken stock
- 1.5 lbs meatballs
- 4 cups of shredded baby kale
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley – chopped
- More fresh chopped parsley
- Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the 2 tablespoons of butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.
Once the butter is melted, add the chopped onion, stir it around, and let it cook for two minutes. The onion will start to turn translucent, and become slightly effervescent.
Dump in the carrots and celery, and repeat the two minute cook-and-stir process that you just did with the onions.
Stir the crushed garlic, and a half teaspoon each of salt and pepper into the veggies. Stir the mixture constantly during the minute of cooking; you don’t want the garlic to burn, which happens quickly, and gives the whole thing an acrid, weirdly metallic flavor.
Add the tomatoes and the chicken stock, mix it all together, bring it to a simmer, and let it cook for ten minutes. While the flavors won’t be completely formed, ten minutes of simmering should give you a good idea of the seasoning needed, and allow you to taste, and adjust accordingly.
Add the meatballs.
If you’re cooking them in the broth – which I didn’t do – you’ll need to adjust your cooking time. However, if you’re like me, and found a bag of tasty, organic meatballs pre-made (and pre-cooked) by your local butcher, then you’ll be able to drop them in and go! I let the soup cook at a low simmer for another 30 minutes after adding my meatballs.
Add the kale, and the half cup of chopped parsley, about five minutes before you’re ready to serve. While the volume of kale seems massive as you add it to the soup, it will wilt quickly, and will easily mix into the mass of tasty morsels already bobbing happily in your bubbling broth. Don’t forget to taste it, and add salt and pepper (or water, if you over-salted) to the soup.
I cook the pasta separately, which allows your happy diners to add their desired amount of carbs to their serving of savory soup, and makes the leftovers easier to freeze. (Have you ever tried frozen, thawed and reheated pasta? Spoiler: it’s not good.)
Serve a generous helping of soup over a bed of pasta, with a healthy pinch of fresh parsley, and a dusting of fresh parmesan.
Oooh. You should have some good, crusty bread to sop up the broth with this, too!