Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs

Italian Wedding Soup - trustinkim.com

My friend Maureen has been making this soup on a regular basis for years. I’ve made it a few times too, and am happy to finally be sharing it. This soup is super delicious, healthy, and . . . there’s wine in it! It also makes some beautiful leftovers.

I highly recommend using a great chicken stock, preferably a homemade one.

It comes from the Whitewater Cooks Cookbook. The main change I made was to use turkey rather than beef for the meatballs. Turkey it s bit lighter, more heart healthy, and my main eater doesn’t eat beef. The only other change I made was to substitute the type of pasta, from Acini de Pepe to orzo (because that’s what I had in my cupboard), and to cook it separately. There are two reasons for cooking the pasta separately: everybody can add as much as they want to their soup (I prefer it light on the pasta), and I don’t like the leftovers as much when there is pasta in it because I think it gets too gludgy. Oh, one more change: I used fresh basil because I think dried basil tastes nothing like fresh. I keep fresh basil in my freezer for occasions like this.

Hope you love it too!

What you need for the meatballs:

  •  450 grams (1 pound) ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 egg

What you need for the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons butter (or less if you prefer, as I do)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced (I will add more next time)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 3 litres (12 cups) homemade  chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup orzo (or small pasta of your choice)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 pound fresh spinach, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F before making the meatballs. Prepare a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
  2. Place all the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands. Form bite-sized meatballs with your hands and place them on the baking pan. Bake for about 15 minutes and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a large pot, then add the onions, carrots and garlic. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes, until they are tender. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then turn to medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. In another pot cook the orzo.
  5. Add some salt and pepper to the soup, then add the meatballs. Allow the soup to cook for a few minutes, until the carrots are just cooked through. 
  6. Add the lemon juice, red wine and the chopped spinach and let it cook for a few minutes.
  7. Ladle the soup into bowls with some orzo. Grate some Parmesan cheese on top before serving.
  8. Enjoy!

 

 

Turkey Barley Soup

turkey barley soup - trustinkim.com

This soup made the perfect meal on a cold winter evening, and paired well with Savoury Cheddar Muffins.

As with most soups, the broth you use is so important to bring a fullness of flavour. I had some homemade chicken broth in the freezer, but turkey broth would also be perfect here. If you don’t have a homemade broth it might be wise to splash out a bit on a better quality broth like the one made by Pacific.

I bought some raw turkey breasts for this recipe, but left-over roast turkey or chicken would also be great.

What you need:

  • olive oil
  • 1 leek, halved lengthwise and then sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 3-4 carrots, sliced
  • 1-2 turkey breasts (or leftover turkey or chicken meat)
  • 4 cups chicken or turkey broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of sage
  • pinch of thyme
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup pot barley
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Chop the veggies.
  2. Heat a small glug of olive oil in a large pot. Add the veggies and cook, stirring from time to time, until they soften a bit.
  3. Push the veggies to the sides of the pot (or remove them from the pot if you want) and place the turkey breasts in the pot. (Unless you are using leftover meat which you will add with the broth). Cook the turkey breasts for a minute or two on each side; it doesn’t need to cook through yet, as it will continue to cook when you add the broth.
  4. Add the bay leaf, sage, thyme, broth and barley. Bring to a light boil and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the barley is cooked but not too soft.
  5. Remove the turkey breasts from the soup and shred them, using two forks or your hands. Put the turkey meat back in the pot.
  6. I like to keep the salt and pepper until the very last moment, as the flavours of the soup develop as it cooks, and you may over-season if you add it sooner. Also I think the salt makes the veggies a bit mushier. So add salt and pepper to taste just before serving.

Duck Broth (or Chicken)

P1040954

 

This the duck that keeps on giving. It began as a roast duck, then was turned into this broth which was used to make a delicious mushroom and duck risotto, as well as a tomato soup. You could substitute chicken to make this if you don’t happen to have duck.

This recipe is as simple as putting everything in a pot to simmer for a number of hours, then giving it time to cool before refrigerating it.

Thanks again Tony, the Accidental Agrarian, for the duck!

What you need:

  • 1 duck or chicken carcass
  • 1 onion, cut in half
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 or 2 carrots
  • 1 knob of ginger, sliced
  • a few cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 2 pieces of star anise
  • a bunch of parsley stems, if you have them

What you do:

  1. Put everything in a stock pot and cover with cold water. Bring it to a slow simmer and skim of any foam.
  2. Keep on a low simmer – just barely bubbling – for 3 to 4 hours, or more if you have the time.
  3. Strain off the liquid from the bones and vegetables and discard the solids. I use a fine sieve to do this, and line it with some cheesecloth if I want to keep all the fine bits out.
  4. Allow to cool to room temperature. I put the broth into canning jars and place them in a sink of cold water, changing the water when it gets warm. If it is cold enough outside I just put it out for the night.
  5. You can use it up or keep it for a few months in the freezer.

John’s Spicy Lentil Soup

lentil soup - trust in kim

lentil soup - trust in kim

 

My good friend John made this soup for me a while back. We both wanted to eat something pretty healthy and warming, and something that wouldn’t take too long to cook. Don’t be afraid of the word ‘spicy;’ it has a only hint of chill, but loads of flavour.

John’s recipe is vegan, using vegetable broth, but I used chicken broth and added some chicken pieces that I had left over. Both versions are super tasty. I also used less olive oil; the original recipe says 3 tablespoons and I used about one.

The recipe is from the Food Network.

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (or ground if that’s what you have)
  • 1/2 cup green lentils
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 small dried chili, crushed
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • leftover chicken, shredded or diced (optional)
  • salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

What you do:

  1. Drizzle the oil in a large pot and sauté the onion on medium heat until golden.
  2. Add the garlic and cumin and cook for 2-3 more minutes, until the garlic is golden.
  3. Add the stock, lentils, chili, carrots, celery, bay leaves and optional chicken to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
  4. Uncover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Add the vinegar, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Thanks for the recipe John!

John Cloutier - trust in kim
Chef John

Cauliflower Leek Soup

cauliflower leek soup

Because of my ongoing quest for soup recipes, and because of my newly acquired blender I have been searching for more puréed soup recipes. The ingredients are really simple, so in my opinion the success of this recipe depends largely on using a quality broth. I used my homemade chicken stock, but you could use a flavourful vegetable one to make it a vegan recipe. I make up a big batch of stock, then freeze it in portions to use in future soup recipes. A bit of work to do ahead of time, but it’s really handy and makes better soups.

I found this recipe on freshtart.com, and I made two changes: I cut the amount of oil in half (1 tablespoon per portion is too much for me), and I didn’t serve it with the fried shrimp on top, although this sounds yummy.

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 heaping cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth (homemade is always best)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 generous handfuls of spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chives, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt to taste

What you do:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the leek to it and sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower and garlic and sauté for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the bay leaf.
  4. Place the spinach and chives in the blender, then add the cauliflower and broth and purée until smooth. If the liquid is hot it will make a bit of an explosion, se be careful. You could purée on very low to start, then allow some steam to escape, and then continue until it is smooth.
  5. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Drizzle with a little olive oil to serve, and add some minced chives for garnish if you like.

Italian Wedding Soup

After a gorgeous summer of vacationing in very hot climates, I was a little shocked to come home to Vancouver’s fabulously moderate climate.  So shocked that in early September I had to make some soup to warm me up a little.  I started with a great homemade chicken stock, which makes all soups fabulous, then made up my version of Italian Wedding Soup.  I always thought it was called that because it was served at weddings, but I recently read that it is called that because greens and meat marry well together.  My version has turkey meatballs, because it seemed like a healthy thing to do.

Although I am lactose intolerant, I find the hard cheeses like parmesan aren’t too hard to tolerate, because they actually contain very little lactose.

What you need for the soup:

6-8 cups chicken stock

1 medium onion, chopped

olive oil

3 carrots, peeled and chopped into thin rounds

1 bay leaf

1/3 cup orzo pasta

1 bunch spinach, washed and roughly chopped

What you need for the meatballs:

400 grams ground turkey

2 tablespoon onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup bread crumbs

2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

salt and pepper

a pinch of nutmeg

1 egg

What you do:

1. Heat a little olive oil in a large pot on medium heat, then add the onion and cook it for a few minutes until it is softened.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the carrot and cook for a minute or two.  Add the broth and the bay leaf.  Bring this to a boil – you will add the raw meatballs to this broth.

2. Combine all the meatball ingredients and mix them together a little with your hands – don’t over-mix.  Form the mixture into small meatballs with your hands, about a teaspoon or smaller in size.  Drop the meatballs into the soup as you make them, making sure you keep it on a low boil as you go. Once all the meatballs are in, allow the soup to cook for about 10 minutes.

3.  Add the orzo to the pot of boiling soup, stirring from time to time.

4.  When the orzo is cooked through, season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.  Now add the spinach and cook it briefly, until it wilts.

Buon appetito!

I had some of this soup for leftovers, and it was yummy, but the spinach wasn’t very green after the first serving.  If you plan to use it for leftovers, you might want to leave the spinach out, and add it when you reheat.

French Onion Soup

Soup is amazing on a cool fall evening, and the healing benefits of onion and homemade soup stock help ward off the illnesses that are lurking.  Using homemade stock makes a world of difference for this recipe.  The taste of a soup made with store-bought watery broth just doesn’t cut it when you’ve had the real thing.  Sometimes when I have an afternoon at home I’ll make a huge batch of broth and keep it in the freezer to pull out for recipes like this.

I used a recipe from The Essential Soup Cookbook (thanks Marlene for this gift years ago!), then made changes according to what I had on hand.  I made a smaller recipe than the book called for,  and used chicken stock and white wine instead of beef stock and red wine.  I also used a sweet onion because I find I don’t cry when I cut them.  When I make this again I’ll try grating some cheese on top of the bowls and then put them under the broiler to bubble up instead of broiling the bread and cheese.

This recipe serves two generously, with some leftovers possibly.

What you need:

2 tablespoons butter

1 large sweet onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/3 cup dry white wine

4 cups chicken stock

1 spring fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

salt, to taste

1/3 – 1/2 cup gruyère cheese, grated

a few slices of baguette bread

What you do:

1.  Heat the butter in a pot at medium heat, then add the onions.  Lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until the onions are nicely browned.  Don’t be tempted to speed things up by raising the heat, as the low heat gives the onions a mellower and sweeter flavour.

2.  Add the garlic and cook for a minute, stirring.  Then add the wine, chicken stock, thyme and bay leaf.  Bring this to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes.  Remove the bay leaf and thyme before serving, and add salt to taste.

3.  Just before serving, grate the cheese and sprinkle it on the bread slices.  Put it under the broiler until the cheese is bubbling and begins to brown.  Place the cheesy bread on top of bowls of hot soup and serve immediately.

Broccoli Soup

I wanted to make a nice light, fresh, healthy soup.  This is basically a combination of a flavourful broth, a little potato, onion, garlic, and some broccoli.  The broccoli isn’t cooked for too long, allowing the soup to remain a bright green.  This is pretty quick to whip up, provided you’ve got some stock on hand.  This is great with a little yogurt or cream swirled in before serving, along with a nice crusty bread.

What you need:

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

4-5 garlic cloves, chopped finely

1 head roasted garlic (optional)

2 small white potatoes, chopped

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

a few heads of broccoli, chopped into florets

salt and pepper

to serve: a dollop of yogurt or a drizzle of cream, also optional

What you do:

1. Heat a large pot to medium and add the olive oil.  When the oil is hot add the onion, cooking for a few minutes, then add the garlic.  Cook for a few minutes more, until the onion is translucent.

2.  Add the roasted garlic, rosemary, potatoes and stock.  Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are soft.

3.  Add the broccoli to the pot and put a lid on it for 4-5 minutes, until the broccoli is cooked but not losing its bright green colour.

4.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or put it in the blender.  Serve it while it’s hot!

5.  To serve, top with a dollop of yogurt or a drizzle of cream.

Fantastic Chicken Stew

In honour of the rare mid-April snowfall we experienced in Vancouver today, I’m posting this fabulous chicken stew recipe. It’s not too hard to make, and it’s full of flavour.  I’ve adapted a recipe for veal stew from a Western Living cookbook to make this.  Oh, and it’s so tasty if you use homemade stock – it’s pretty much vital to the flavour, so plan ahead and make some stock !

What you need:

2 tablespoons olive oil

4-6 chicken thighs, bone-in & skin removed

1 onion, chopped roughly

a cup or two of button mushrooms, halved

4 cloves garlic, finely diced

3 cups chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped finely

1 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons  flour

5-6 small potatoes, chopped in half

4-5 carrots, cut into rounds

1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into rounds

salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

1. Heat a large pot to medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil, then add the onions. After about five minutes add the mushrooms.  Saute until browned, then remove from the pot.

2. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pot, then add the chicken and cook until browned on each side.  Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add the chicken stock and cook, covered, for about 45 minutes.

3. Combine the wine and flour, then stir it into the pot. Add the potatoes, carrots, and sautéed mushrooms and onions. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

4. Add the zucchini and cook for about 15 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

I like to eat this all on its own, but it would be great served with a crusty bread.

Oma’s Chicken Soup

There’s a tickle in the back of my throat and I’m doing my best to fight it off, so it’s time to turn to my Oma’s chicken soup for some healing.  At 98 years of age, she’s not making soup anymore, so I’ve gleaned her wisdom, and I’m doing my best to use the basic elements of her recipe.  Oma’s recipes are stored in her memory, not written down, so a recipe from her sounds like “a little of this, a bunch of that.”  Here’s how I make it, based on what my Oma has told me about how she makes her chicken soup:

Put the following into a stock pot:

chicken backs and necks and feet (yes, feet!)

carrot (I used one)

celery (I used one stalk)

onion ( I used one, skin removed)

garlic (I used two cloves, but only because I was running out)

ginger (this is a key ingredient for fighting illness – I used about 1/4 cup or more sliced)

bay leaves (I used two.  I keep them in the freezer because I think they taste better when I  buy them fresh & then freeze them)

star anise (I used two)

peppercorns (I used about 2 teaspoons)

this time I added some parsley stems because I had them on hand, but it’s an experiment

sometimes I add an apple or sun-dried tomatoes, depending on what kind of flavour I want to impart, and what I have on hand

enough water to cover it all up

I never add salt to the broth – I wait until I use it in a soup recipe

When it’s all in the pot:

Now bring to almost a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for hours – 4-5 if you’ve got the time.

To cool it I place the pot in a sink filled with cold water.

When it has cooled a bit I pour the liquid through a cheesecloth-lined sieve, and store the liquid in canning jars.  Refrigerate it until the stock is cold, then skim off the fat.  (My relatives would have saved this to make soap.  I just throw it away.)

I store some of the broth in canning jars in the freezer, making sure to leave some space for it to expand as it freezes – if you don’t do this you end up with broken jars and wasted broth.

When refrigerated, the best chicken soup broth will become gelatinous – all the chicken stock makers in my family, Oma, Tante Katje, and Mom, say that it’s really good for you.  No reasons why, it’s just “good for you.”

Oma served this with her homemade noodles – something I’ll try after the soup has healed me!