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.

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.