Although this soup is a Rachael Ray spin-off, I’ll refrain from calling it delish, or a stoup, or using an insane amount of hand gestures. In a previous post, I confessed my love of kale, which I prefer to the escarole used in many Italian soups, but escarole or spinach would work just fine if you prefer them. This soup combines mini-meatballs simmered in chicken broth with wilted kale, white beans and other vegetables. You could equally use small shell pasta instead of the white beans, or even diced potatoes. I personally love pasta in this, but I never enjoy how it reheats the next day. The pasta absorbs all the liquid and gets soggy and that’s not good.
So, making really flavorful meatballs should be the highest priority in this soup. I like this recipe, but use your favorite meatball recipe, if you have one. I appreciate that this soup is filling without being too heavy; it’s comforting without being a gut-buster as Rachael so eloquently describes some of her meals. This recipe comes together so quickly, I was actually surprised how little effort it took the first time I made it, making it a gift of a weeknight meal.
Mini-Meatball and Vegetable Soup
1 lb ground beef or a mixture of beef and pork
2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped or grated
½ onion, minced
½ cup grated parmesan
½ cup bread crumbs
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt
Fresh parsley or basil, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
1 tsp olive oil
6 cups chicken broth
Few sprigs fresh thyme
3-4 cups fresh kale, washed and chopped
1 (15 oz) can white beans, rinsed and drained
Grated parmesan, for topping
In a large mixing bowl, prepare the meatballs by combining the ground meat and the next 10 ingredients. Set aside.
Chop the vegetables while you heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a large soup pot. Saute the onions, carrots, and celery until softened, 4-5 minutes. Throw in a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
Once the broth is simmering, start forming small meatballs and dropping them in the soup. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through. Simmering gently will help to ensure tender meatballs. Add the chopped kale and white beans. Cover and simmer 5-10 minutes more until the kale is completely wilted.