What inspired me to make this homemade chicken meatball soup? It's -15°C outside. No wonder I don't see those geese and beautiful swans at the park anymore. Not only that, no more heavy traffic going to work. I think not only did the Canadian Goose migrate South but also a lot of people flew to somewhere warm.
Chicken meatball and vegetable soup with green sauce? Right! They sound good, healthy and taste even better. The secrets are (between you and me, unless you want to share to your loved ones and that's okay) ground lean chicken, a buffet of herbs, good chicken stock - For preference, always homemade -" if you have that little luxury to make it, make a lot") My freezer is actually full of homemade chicken stock. And of course, you'll never go wrong with Parmesan cheese.
Meatballs need to be seasoned. This is where the magic of parmesan cheese will shine, not only does taste delicious, Parmesan cheese is a bit on the salty side that is why we don't have to be too generous salting these chicken meatballs. Now, if you do not opt of adding parmesan cheese, a teaspoon of salt per pound of ground meat is sufficient for tasty meatballs.
Herbs are also important or it will end up like you're tasting a burger without it. I'm not married to just 1, 2 or 3 herbs, I like mixing all kinds of herbs and spices. Do you want to put a surprise in your meatballs? Add a pinch or two of freshly grated nutmeg to the meatballs. It adds another depth of flavor. Your guests or the genie pigs will suddenly ask, "what am I eating?" believe me, a question of good things.
Chia seeds or bread crumbs in meatballs
Using chia as part of the meatballs is another option that will take you to the brighter side because of its high profile nutritional value1 in place of bread crumbs. But why do we need bread crumbs anyway? Breadcrumbs stop the meatballs from getting dry. It absorbs the juices from the meat and traps the moisture within the meat. On the other hand, this is what chia seeds do as well. In general, I'm a sucker of food, anything touted as "super" even though deep down on my brain, despite it being just a gimmick for marketing, but then for better peace of mind; we have to lean on something good- like chia seeds! Once chia seeds are cooked, with their obvious size you wouldn't even notice it"s there. Chia seeds are hydrophilic (They absorb 12 times their weight in liquid )which serves the same purpose in adding bread crumbs for meatballs. Used as a binder with eggs creating light and airy meatballs. Please do not get disappointed, by all means, use what you have. For bread crumbs, use ⅓ cup of bread crumbs per pound of ground meat.
How to make meatballs soup with vegetables?
The best way to mix ground meat, spices and seasoning are, Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and use your clean hands to mix them. A light human touch will incorporate gently all the ingredients without crushing the meat turning it into a paste. Ground meat should still be visible.
Searing the meatballs before adding them into the soup, Does it sound like Nonna to the Italians who have a secret for a perfect meatball? A mother or a grandmother who is a great cooker at home is always right. You don't get nearly as much flavor when you just poach your meatballs as when the meat hits a hot pan. Searing the meatballs to a nice brown crust before adding the chopped vegetables then braising, you're creating another layer of flavor that is behind the umami taste.
To sum up this meatball soup
This chicken meatball recipe is nothing flashy except with the finishing touch of mixed herbs as a freshener and the addition of lemon juice and olive oil to lighten it up. Another great way of incorporating healthy benefits from herbs into our diet without overpowering one another. So it's all win-win. Even the process of rolling to boil then simmering is a part of its cozy charm. As the saying goes, "a hearty meal in a bowl".
Before you begin making a list, you might need some accompaniments to go along- they're meant for each other:
☞long loaf bread for tearing, dipping, and mopping.
☞Garlic bread for anything and everything.
☞Grilled cheese sandwich to make it one full meal.
Chicken Meatball Soup with Green sauce
- 1 Large soup pot
For The Meatballs
- 1 pound Ground chicken breast or lean ground chicken
- 1 large Egg + 1 yolk, beaten
- ¼ teaspoon Freshly grated Nutmeg
- 2 tablespoon Ground chia seeds or use ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 medium Garlic, finely grated
- 2 sprigs Fresh Basil, thinly sliced including the soft stem
- ½ cup Grated Parmesan
- ¼ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For The Soup
- 1 medium Onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 medium Carrots, clean- medium diced
- 2 ribs Celery, clean and trimmed and chopped
- ½ pound potatoes, slice into chunks
- 2 bay leaf
- 8 Cups Chicken Stock
- 1 bunch Baby spinach
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
For The Green Sauce
- ½ cup Parsley, packed
- ¼ cup Basil, packed
- ¼ cup Mint. packed
- 1 tablespoon Rosemary
- ½ teaspoon Coarse salt or use fine salt
- ¼ cup Grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup Extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup Freshly squezed lemon juice
For the meatballs
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients incorporating thoroughly using your clean hands (avoid over mixing). Scoop a tablespoon or two and roll with your wet palm into nice round meatballs.
- Using a large soup pot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat on medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and sear to brown all the sides (do not let it cook all the way through). Transfer the browned meatballs to a plate and set them aside.
Make the soup
- Using the same pot, wipe off the remaining fat leaving just a thin film of fat. In low heat, sweat the onions, carrots and celery with a lid on for 5 minutes. Add the meatballs, potatoes chicken stock and bay leaf. Bring the soup to boil on high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes with the lid slightly ajar. Stir the spinach until just welted. Add seasoning according to your taste.
For the green sauce (There are 3 ways)
- Knife and chopping board - Finely chop all the herbs; transfer all the ingredients to a large bowl and whip to combine thoroughly.
- Pestle and mortar - Coarsley (but small )chop all the herbs and transfer into the mortar in 3 additions plus salt, crushing and pounding down the leaves until they form a fairly paste using the pestle. Add half of the parmesan cheese pounding into the herbs. Add the cheese and incorporate it into the mixture. Add the lemon juice, drizzle the olive oil (a tablespoon at a time), pounding it into the sauce until all the olive oil is emulsified into the mixture.
- Blender - Place all the herbs into the blender and blend until finely chopped. Add the cheese, salt and lemon juice and blend for a few seconds. Slowly drizzle the olive oil as you blend until the oil is emulsified.
- Ladle the hot soup in a large soup bowl, finish with a spoonful of green sauce on top and serve. Pass the remaining sauce for more.