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.

Cheese Tortellini Soup

19 12 2013

After we enjoy appetizers, I like to start our family’s Christmas dinner with a homemade soup. Traditionally I’ve made Italian wedding soup, and one year I made a rustic minestrone. This year however, it’ll be tortellini soup with the homemade turkey stock that I made using the bones from our Thanksgiving turkey. First I roasted the bones, then I let the stock cook on low all day (with the bones, onions, carrots and celery) to develop a deep, rich flavor.  I froze the stock knowing I’d use it to make soup for Christmas.

I grew up enjoying my Mama’s tortellini soup quite often, but I haven’t had (or made it) in years. Hence this post….thought I’d whip up a bowl for the hubs and I before making my army-size Christmas Day batch! I did make this a little different from my Mama’s, and I’ll be making it a little different for Christmas Day too (will be using turkey stock instead of chicken broth and white beans instead of mushrooms)…but sharing this before Christmas in case it sparks an idea for your own holiday meal planning.

Cheese Tortellini Soup

Cheese Tortellini Soup

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

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Couple cloves of garlic, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 container portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 boxes reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 package cheese tortellini, like Buitoni whole wheat cheese tortellini you find in the refrigerated section
  • 1 bag fresh baby spinach
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and thyme springs (don’t worry about taking off the leaves, add the whole sprig) and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add mushrooms and brown, stirring often, another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Deglaze the pan with wine, scrapping up any brown bits from the pan. Cook for another minute or so until the wine reduces to half.

Next add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook to al dente according to package instructions. When you have a few minutes left on the pasta cooking time, add the spinach and wilt into the soup, stirring often.

Remove the sprigs of thyme, season soup with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with grated parmesan cheese.