But with January in full swing and the cold, wet weather that comes with it, I thought I would share one of our family’s new favourite soup recipes. It is, after all, National Soup Month in the United States!
My husband, Doug, isn’t the biggest fan of soup. Maybe it’s because soup is extremely versatile? And, it deliciously combines fresh ingredients and a hot liquid to create a comfort food masterpiece? Or that soup makes great leftovers? Or maybe he’s just exceptionally warm-blooded and the sight of soup makes him sweat? Well whatever the reason may be, whenever I find a soup recipe he enjoys, it becomes a staple in our house.
What I love the most about soup is you can use pretty much any vegetable, starch, meat or beans, and broth/stock you have on hand in your fridge or pantry to make it. Have a picky eater that doesn’t like chunks of vegetables showing up in his soup? Puree the cooked vegetables with the broth before adding the meat and/or noodles to the soup. Over time you can reintroduce the vegetables once he realizes he enjoys the recipe!
Anyways – here’s the recipe! Did I mention Doug loves this soup?
Italian Meatball Soup
Yield: 12 to 14 servings
1 pound (16 oz) lean or extra lean ground beef
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg
1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 cups low-sodium beef stock/broth
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 cups chopped russet potatoes (unpeeled) (approx. 1 large potato)
2 cups minced carrots (approx. 4 large carrots)
1 cup minced onion (approx. 1/2 large white onion)
3 cups chopped kale (stems removed)
- In a bowl, mix together ground beef, grated Parmesan, 3 tablespoons parsley, lemon juice, oregano, minced garlic, egg, pinch of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper. Using 1-inch cookie scoop, form meatballs by scooping and rolling meat into balls (makes ~30 meatballs).
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown meatballs, turning to brown all sides. (Meatballs do not need to be fully cooked at this stage; they will be when added back to soup later). Remove meatballs to small bowl and cover with aluminum foil.
- Add beef stock to the large pot with 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and tomato paste. Make a bouquet garni by adding bay leaves and remaining parsley to cheesecloth. Gather cheesecloth around herbs and tie into bundle using kitchen twine, and drop into soup.
- Bring soup to boil; reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove and discard bouquet garni. Add potatoes, carrots, and onion to soup. Let simmer 15 minutes.
- Add chopped kale and meatballs to soup. Bring soup to boil; reduce heat and let simmer for additional 8 minutes until vegetables are slightly tender and meatballs are completely cooked.
- Serve with freshly grated Parmesan. Enjoy!
The meatballs in this soup are extremely versatile. If you’re up for it, make a double batch of the meatballs and freeze to use on a later date for soups, pastas, or appetizers. When grocery shopping, choose a low-sodium or no-salt beef stock/broth. Individuals can always add more salt later if they prefer. This recipe also uses a bouquet garni to infuse flavours into the broth from herbs. I did not have any cheesecloth on hand, so I just placed heat-resistant mesh colander with the herbs directly in the pot for easy retrieval later. I added more vegetables and stock to the original recipe so I would have some for leftovers and to bring to a neighbour. (Soup is a great thing to bring after the birth of a baby, death of a loved one, or for family potlucks.) I had kale on hand so I added that to the recipe instead of cabbage and celery. Kale is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and beta-carotene (a nutrient that turns into vitamin A).