Lemony Italian Wedding Soup With Chicken Meatballs

I’ve been fighting a cold all week and decided to make some homemade soup to help knock it out a little faster. I had some ground chicken on hand, so I went with an Italian wedding type soup and added a lot of lemon and garlic, knowing those are two great cold-fighting ingredients. It was delicious the first night, but even better for lunch the next day! There’s just nothing like a homemade bowl of soup when you’re feeling a little under the weather…

Ingredients:

Meatballs:
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 small white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (or more as needed to form meatballs)
Good pinch of salt and pepper
Olive oil

Soup:
1 leek, lighter parts only, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken broth
1 lemon, juiced
1 can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked ditalini pasta
1 cup chopped spinach (I used frozen this time but fresh is great if you have on hand!)
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste

Start by making the meatballs. Cook the garlic and onion in a little olive oil until translucent, about 1-2 minutes. In a large bowl, mix together (with your hands) the ground chicken, cooked onion/garlic, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, egg, salt and pepper. Form the mixture into little meatballs and place on a plate until ready to cook. Add some olive oil to a large skillet and cook the meatballs in two batches over medium heat, turning them constantly to avoid sticking to the pan. Plate and set aside.

Get a large pot of salted water boiling and cook the pasta as directed on the box. In the meantime, sauté the garlic in some olive oil for about a minute then add in the leeks, cooking for another 3 minutes or so. Add the chicken broth, lemon juice, sherry vinegar, cayenne pepper, spinach, beans, and cooked meatballs. Salt and pepper to taste. Let the soup simmer for about 5 minutes before adding in the pasta, then continue simmering for an additional 5-10 minutes. Serve with a pinch of fresh parsley and grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

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Celeriac & Potato Mash With Lemony Meatballs

I had heard of celeriac mash before but never tried it, so this week I gave it a shot. It was really great, as if eating mashed potatoes but with a little hint of celery in them. I had some lemons as well and though I would make some meatballs and pour the sauce over the mashed celeriac. YUM! It was fairly easy to make and a nice weeknight meal. I usually make my meatballs with a pork/beef mixture but could only get beef at my grocery store this week. I think next time a little fennel seeds might be good in the meatballs too!


Celeriac & Potato Mash:

1 medium celeriac (aka celery root) peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 medium red potatoes, skin on and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 small shallot, simply smashed once as you would a garlic clove
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper, to taste

Meatballs: (Adapted from The Kitchn)
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 lb ground pork/beef mixture
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Olive oil
Black pepper
Salt

Lemon Sauce:
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
Black pepper, to taste

To make the mash- place the celeriac and shallot in a saucepan with enough water to cover it by an inch or so. Bring to a boil, then add the potatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes or until everything is fork tender. Drain the water and toss the shallot, then add the milk and butter and wash away! Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until ready to serve. If it dries out, just add a little more milk when warming it back up.

Next make the meatballs. Start by sautéing the onion in a little olive oil. Once it is slightly softened, add the garlic and cook for another minute. Season with a mini pinch of salt and pepper, then set aside to cool. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients with your hands- meat, breadcrumbs, onion, Parmesan cheese, thyme, lemon zest, cayenne, and a little salt and pepper. Form the mixture into golf ball sized balls and place on a plate until ready to cook.

In a large skillet, drizzle some olive oil and place the meatballs in one uncrowded layer. While cooking, constantly turn them so they cook evenly and don’t get stuck to the pan. Cook them most of the way, but not all the way, as they will finish cooking in the pan with the sauce later. Place on a plate and immediately make the sauce.

While the pan is still hot, add the chicken broth and white wine, scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until reduced by at least a third. Add the lemon juice, thyme, and pepper. Toss the meatballs back in and let cook for about 5-10 minutes, or until fully cooked (but not over cooked, as it is easy to do!) Serve over celeriac and potato mash, and pour the remaining lemon sauce over top. Sprinkle with a little extra Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

 

 

Eggplant and Mushroom Meatballs

I had a huge eggplant on hand and decided to give these “meatballs” a shot. They were so easy to make and delicious! I love regular meatballs, with actual meat, but these were really flavorful and had a nice texture to them as well. So whether you’re a meat lover or a veggie lover, you’ll like these! I ate mine on their own with a little sauce, but they would be great with pasta, over some polenta, or with some melted cheese on a sub!

Ingredients:
1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped
5 baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 shallot, chopped
1 cup bread crumbs (I used Italian)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil, about 5 large leaves finely chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, roughly chopped
1 large egg
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop the eggplant and add it to a large skillet over medium heat with about 3 tablespoons olive oil. Cook until the eggplant becomes soft, adding more olive oil and a little splash of water at times if it becomes too dry. Remove from heat and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Next add the shallot and cook until translucent, followed by the mushrooms until soft and cooked down.

Smash the eggplant with a wooden spoon a little to break down the pieces. Add the mushrooms, shallots, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, fennel seeds, basil and egg. Mix well with your hands until fully incorporated. Roll two inch balls of the mixture and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, flipping half way through, until golden brown. Serve with sauce and more grated cheese!