As I type this, the delicious and nourishing soup I am posting on is slowly simmering away on the stove. I can smell the garlic and the roasted meatballs mingling with the spices and vegetables. It's like heaven in a Dutch oven.
We are having some friends over for dinner tonight and I wanted to make something filling, delicious, and something that was easy to prepare ahead. I hate having to scramble at the last minute when we have guests over, so this soup was the perfect fit. Not only did it utilize basic ingredients I most always keep on hand, but it also incorporates one of my favorite winter ingredients: bone bone (which is just what we need to nourish our bodies and fight off the winter bugs!).
Let's do this.
Hearty Italian Meatball Soup
You will need:
For the meatballs:
– 1 1/2 pounds of grass-fed hamburger
– 4 garlic cloves, minced
– 2 high-quality eggs
– 1 teaspoon of sea salt
– 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
For the soup:
– 4 tablespoons olive oil
– 3-5 potatoes, diced into small pieces (I used red potatoes)
– 3 stalks of celery, diced
– 1 medium onion, diced
– 3-4 carrots, diced
– 1/3-1/2 head of green cabbage, chopped
– 7-9 cups of homemade beef bone broth or chicken broth
– 3 tablespoons tomato paste
– A few bay leaves
– Small pinch of cayenne, if desired
– Salt and pepper, to taste
Step One: Combine all the meatball ingredients into a mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix all the ingredients together well. Then, shape into small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step Two: In a large soup pot (I used my dutch oven), heat up the olive oil. Gently brown the meatballs, only cooking them for a few minutes.
The goal here is not to cook the meatballs completely, but rather to help give them a nice browned crust. It will take a few batches to cook all the meatballs, but that's okay – don't overcrowd the pan or you'll just end up with a soggy mess. Once the meatballs are browned, remove to a plate.
Step Three: After all the meatballs have been browned, add the broth, tomato paste, bay leaves, and salt & pepper to the soup pot. Bring this to a boil. Then, add in your diced celery, onion, carrots, and potatoes.
Then, switch from holding your baby on your left hip to your right hip. Then, try to take a photo of step three with one hand while not letting her touch anything.
Ya. That went well.
Now here's a variation:
1. If you will be eating the soup right way, bring the soup to a boil and cook the vegetables until fork tender. Then, add in your meatballs and the cabbage, simmering for another 20 minutes or so until the meatballs are completely cooked.
2. If you won't be eating the soup right way (ie: cooking it up in the afternoon for an evening dinner), add the meatballs in with the vegetables. Then, allow the soup to hang out on the stove all day, gently cooking the vegetables and meatballs until fully cooked. About fifteen minutes before you're ready to eat, simply toss in the cabbage.
Step Four: Ladle up some of this wonderful soup! Top it off with some freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and serve it with some freshly baked crusty bread. Yum, yum, yum! This would be the perfect soup to whip up a big batch of today – keep it in your fridge over these last few busy days before Christmas and you'll always have a warm meal a few minutes away.
Yes, I do realize I've had a lot of soup recipes posted lately…but I can't help it! When it's cold outside, I just want some of this liquid heaven in my belly.
Oh, and just so you know, red wine pairs really well with a meatball soup, such as this.
I'm just saying.
Now…what to make for dessert…
For other great meal ideas, no matter what your dietary restrictions, check out the meal planning service I use: Real Plans.