Meatball, Kale and Tortellini Soup With Homemade Veggie Stock

22 01 2014

I love the depth of flavor, and spirit that comes from a homemade stock. What’s even better is turning on the crockpot in the morning and coming home to it at night, having done minimal prep! See my tip below on making homemade veggie stock, perfect for this healthy and hearty soup featuring turkey meatballs, kale and whole wheat tortellini. 🙂

Meatball, Kale and Tortellini Soup With Homemade Veggie Stock

Meatball, Kale and Tortellini Soup With Homemade Veggie Stock

The following serves 4-6 (compliments of Food Network Magazine and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 whole carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • Dry white wine
  • 7 – 8 cups homemade veggie stock (boxed would work too)
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (9 oz) package refrigerated whole wheat cheese tortellini
  • Half a head of kale, chopped

This Girl’s Homemade Veggie Stock Tip: I’ve shared this before, but to easily make your own vegetable stock, save the trimmed ends of veggies (ends of onions, used lemon, leafy tips of celery, asparagus ends, kale stems, cauliflower/broccoli stalks, etc) in a gallon-size Zip lock bag in the freezer. Once you have a full bag, add all the frozen veggies to a crockpot. Cover veggies with water, add a few garlic cloves and whatever herbs you have on hand like bay leaves, thyme, parsley, basil, etc. Turn on low when you leave the house for work, and when you come home, strain the veggies and you have homemade stock! So easy and so much healthier than anything you’ll get in a box!

Combine the turkey, parmesan, 2 Tbsp parsley, egg, 1 clove garlic minced, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl; mix well with your hands until just combined. Form into 1-inch-meatballs and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. The goal here is to get a little sear on the meatballs so they set enough to hold up in the soup. You’re also building flavor in the pan for the base of the soup. Remove seared meatballs to a plate with a paper towel.

Add the carrots, celery and the rest of the garlic to the dutch oven, cook until just softened, 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste and deglaze the pan with a little white wine, scrapping up the brown bits on the bottom. Next, add the stock and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Return the meatballs to the dutch oven and simmer until cooked through and float to the top, 3 minutes. Stir in the kale, then add the tortellini and cook until they float to the top, about 3 – 4 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide among bowls and garnish with the rest of the parsley and some parmesan cheese.

Homemade Veggie Stock Soup With Chicken And Orzo

5 12 2012

If you’re anything like me when you’re sick, you probably crave your Mama or Grandmama’s homemade soup! Unfortunately for me, my Mama lives in another state, so any homemade soup offering This Girl comfort has to come out of my own kitchen! No problem, I came up with some simple tips to help me whip up a batch of delicious homemade soup, even when I’m the one who’s sick!

Homemade Veggie Stock Soup With Chicken And Orzo

Homemade Veggie Stock Soup With Chicken And Orzo

The following makes a large pot of soup (compliments of This Girl):

  • Veggies such as broccoli stalks, celery tips and ends, asparagus ends, onion quarters, carrots, peppers, etc….
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves
  • Herbs, such as rosemary, parsley, chives, etc
  • Water
  • Chicken, a few boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • Olive oil
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1 and 1/2 cups dry whole wheat orzo
  • Grated parmesan cheese

I can’t remember where I picked this tip up, but awhile ago I started saving the ends of veggies that I would otherwise have thrown out. For example, broccoli stalks, celery tips, asparagus ends, etc. When I trim these types of veggies for other recipes, I store the ends in the freezer until I have enough veggies saved to make broth. You can also freeze veggies for this use that you haven’t had a chance to cook and might be turning bad quickly. You’ll need enough veggies to fill your crockpot.

On the day you’re ready to make the broth, add the frozen veggies to a large crockpot and cover completely with water. Add a few cloves of peeled garlic and whatever herbs you have on hand or like – such as rosemary, parsley, basil, chives, etc. Turn the crockpot on low before you leave for work and the broth will cook itself while you’re gone.

When you come home from work, cube up some chicken breasts (at least 3 large breasts), toss with some olive oil and seasonings – use whatever you have like Italian seasoning or at least salt and pepper. Saute in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the chicken pieces start to brown.

Meanwhile, use a spider (or small strainer) to scoop out the veggies from the crockpot. At this point you have homemade veggie stock! Discard everything but the onions. Chop the onions up and put them back in the broth. Chop up a few fresh large carrots and celery stalks and add those to the broth as well. When the chicken is slightly browned, remove the pieces from the skillet and add to the broth in the crockpot. Season with salt, stir and cover, continuing to cook on low for another hour or so.

While the soup finishes cooking, cook the orzo according to package directions. Drain the orzo, add a scoop of it to a large bowl and then top with soup. Serve soup with cheese.