I have found so many recipes for meatballs that I could easily make them once a week for the next year or so. What’s fascinating is the variety that a meatball is capable of. Different meats, of course, different spices, different ways of adding moisture/texture, different cooking methods. Meatballs are one of those blank canvas foods, just waiting for a cook’s creativity to elevate them beyond a mere ball of meat.
This week, I made meatballs in soup, which I have heard of, though I’m pretty sure I’ve never eaten before. I went for the classic meatball soup: an Italian Wedding Soup.
Except, it’s not quite an Italian Wedding Soup. I was dazzled by the Pioneer Woman’s Italian Meatball Soup, which has a heartier beef broth base and no pasta to bulk it up. Instead of lots of green veggies, it has a hardy base of carrots and potatoes (and onions and celery in the original recipe, but we all know what happens to those in my kitchen). Cabbage is thrown in with the (pre-browned) meatballs, and that’s really about it. It’s a simple soup to make, and it all comes together really nicely.
It all starts with meatballs, lovingly made with heaping amounts of Parmesan cheese. The meatballs are then browned to get them ready for their soup bath.
Once they’re an appropriate color, they’re removed from the pot to sit and wait while the soup gets itself ready. Into the same pot goes beef broth and some seasonings, so what you’re really getting is a base stock flavored with an extra punch of the browned meatball bits. Very nice.
That simmers a bit, then you throw in your carrots and potatoes (and your onions and celery, if that’s your druthers) and let those simmer a bit longer. Then, in goes the meatballs and cabbage, which simmers just a little bit longer.
Good-looking soup, isn’t it? It was tasty at this point too, so I figured it had gone on long enough. Also, it was 9pm, and I was hungry and very much ready for dinner to be served.
Meatballs and veggies and broth get spooned into a bowl, and then the finishing touch is added: a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on top. Oh, yes, this was shaping up to be a very fine meal.
I served the soup with some bread and butter, and that was that.
We liked this soup. It wasn’t knock your socks off terrific, but it was nice and filling without being too heavy. The bread went with it marvellously; the broth was quite nice by itself but the bread added another level of tastiness to it. The only (minor) issue was that once the cheese got mixed into the soup, it all sank to the bottom. It made those last few bites really tasty! But it didn’t seem to add a lot to the rest of the soup. Maybe the cheese would go better with the bread, that way you could easily get everything into one delicious bite.
So, all in all, meatballs in soup worked out really well for us. Definitely something I’d make again in the future, particularly in winter months. It was warming and filling and quite tasty. I’m looking forward, in the future, to making a more tradtional Italian Wedding Soup.
Next week, I’m going back to ground turkey, and we’ll see how that is with a little spinach mixed in. Should be a nice prelude to Thanksgiving week, which will not feature meatballs anywhere, unfortunately. I’ll have to find a really good non-poultry meatball dish for the week after Thanksgiving. Ooh, or maybe a vegetatian “meat”ball. I’ve got one recipe that features mushrooms that’s just begging to be made.