“Oh, the weather outside is frightful But the fire is so delightful….”
Okay, that song won’t work, it’s so last year and a bit too early to resurrect Christmas songs, but ’tis the season for making soupalicious lunches and dinners and savor the warmth and comfort of a lip-smacking bowl of soup, filled with fragrant broth, aromatic vegetables and meaty heartiness.
Makes me want to go out and chop wood for the fireplace….okay, let’s be honest, I would never go out and chop wood, but I can build a roaring fire.
Welcome to another addition of Tasty Tuesday
Meatball Soup a la Selena style.
This soup is made in stages, but don’t be intimidated, it’s easy to make and a lot of fun (especially if you pour yourself a glass of wine while making it).
First thing you will need is homemade stock (beef, chicken or vegetable). If you don’t want to make your own stock, then go ahead and use store-bought stock, but try to get a good quality kind that isn’t filled with fillers and sodium.
Set your broth aside and let’s get on to the business of making the little meatballs for your soup.
In Italy meatballs are called, polpette’s. Just like gravy (tomato sauce) polpette’s are one those recipes where each Italian family will claim theirs is the best recipe. There are a variety of ways to make these mouth-watering, delectable little balls, however, I will say that my version of polpette’s (a recipe handed down from my mother which was handed down from her mother in Italy) is one of the more delectable ways of producing delissioso meatballs.
The secret to an excellent meatball is for them to be moist, and you get the moistness by adding milk and bread as I will show you below.
Warning: This recipe calls for politically incorrect meat (veal). Therefore, if that is a concern, then you could leave it out all together. Some people replace it with ground turkey or ground chicken, but I wouldn’t recommend it for these meatballs. We’re talking authentic Italian and the turkey and chicken would just un-authenticate it.
1 pound medium lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground pork
1 pound lean ground veal
1 cup milk
1 baguette (best to use a few days old bread, best if it is hardened, remove the crust)
1/4 cup Romano Cheese (freshly grated)
1/4 cup grated parmesan (freshly grated)
3 TBSP Italian parsley (chopped)
2 eggs – (lightly beaten)
4 egg whites – (lightly beaten)
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. black pepper
Tear the baguette into small pieces. You can chop it up in a food processor if you like.
In a small pot, heat the milk, stirring constantly, until the milk is steamy.
Turn off the heat and remove pot from the stove.
Add the bread to the milk and let it soak, until all the milk is dissolved in the bread.
Mash it until the bread and milk resembles a paste.
Let the bread paste cool.
In a large bowl, combine the following: beef, pork, veal, parmesan and romano cheeses, eggs, egg whites, salt, parsley, black pepper, garlic and the bread-milk mixture.
Mix everything well with your hands.
Important tip: Try not to work the mixture too much. If it’s worked too hard and for too long, the meat mixture will be a bit tough. You just want to work it so that all the ingredients are well blended.
Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
Prepare a baking sheet either by spraying a non-stick spray or lining it with parchment paper.
Roll the meatballs into bite size balls.
Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake for 6 to 10 minutes (depending on your oven)—until they are a nice brown on the outside.
Once they are all baked, place them in a large bowl and set aside.
Making the Soup:
6 cups of broth
2 cloves garlic – crushed
1 Vidalia onion – chopped – (or any other kind of sweet onion)
3 Leeks – chopped
1 Package of Frozen spinach (thawed, drained and squeeze the water out)
3 large celery stalks – sliced
3 large carrots – sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
Sea Salt to taste
In a large stock pot, coat the bottom of the pot with some olive oil and put it on the stove at medium-high. When oil is hot, turn heat down to medium-low and add: leeks, carrots, celery and stir.
Put the lid on the pot. This will help the lid sweat and create some wonderful vegetable juices for your soup.
After about 7 minutes, add: onion, garlic and parsley.
Keep stirring and cook until onion is translucent.
Add: spinach, all the broth and meatballs.
Raise the heat until the soup comes to a boil. Soon as it boils, turn heat down to simmer.
Cover halfway (if you like a thicker soup, then don’t cover the pot at all), and let simmer for an hour.
Top with Parmasan cheese, or shredded mozzarella cheese (personally, I don’t top it with anything) and serve with some fresh bread, or crostini.
Tastes great the same day you make it, even better the second day after it sits in the fridge and all the flavors marry together.
If you have any questions, please let me know.
Hop on over and visit my fellow Tasty Tuesday author friends who are cooking up some yumminess of their own and are changing the world one word and recipe at a time:
Apple Pie Oatmeal, by A. Catherine Noon
Stay in Bed Stew by Nancy Lauzon
A Taste of Nostalgia by Moira Keith