This soup is based on a recipe my boss gave me last year that K3 ended up really liking. I still make it according to the boss' recipe, but this is a variation we really like. My husband calls it wedding soup, but it's not. Or maybe it is, I don't have a recipe for wedding soup so I can't be sure!
We're going to start off making the meatballs. I make enough that we use half the meatballs in the soup and save the rest for pasta. I buy gound turkey at my store that comes in 1.25- 1.35 pound containers. I split it in half and freeze half and use half for this batch of meatballs.I also buy low fat Italian chicken sausage... about the size of bratwurst. I get a container of 4 and freeze two with the other half of the ground turkey. So each meatball recipe is about 3/4 pound of ground turkey and 2 brats worth of chicken sausage (just cut the casing off and throw the sausage in the bowl.
Variables: I've used pork sausage and it's fine, I prefer the lighter texture of the chicken sausage and the flavor is impecable. You could also use veal for the turkey although I'm happy with the turkey.
To the meat, add 2 beaten eggs, and about 1/4 cup of minced firm cheese. I use three cheese blend: asiago, parmesan and romano. For those of you that don't like cheese, I swear to you that you will not bite into a meatball and gag. You will not be able to single out the cheese as a distinct flavor or texture; it's just part of the medley! I mince it before adding.
Then add garlic, I like garlic so I'm a heaping teaspoon kind of girl.
Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning then add plain bread crumbs. You're going for texture here, so add like a half cup or less to start and then add more as you need it. I mix by hand, but there's no shot of that because I didn't want to get the camera gunky! you want this to be smooth, not too loose and a little sticky.
At this point, we start the soup while we finish the meat balls. I like to add either lentils or barley as a base to some of my soups. With meatball soup, I prefer lentils. (yum). So pour some broth in a pan; I prefer this organic broth that I get at Costco. It's not low sodium, but it has less than Swanson broth and the flavor/color is superb. Use about 3/4 of the carton with 2 small handfuls of lentil and about 3/4 cup of pasta. This is K3's choice, the macaroni salad pasta! Get that simmering while you cook meatballs.
Back to the meatballs....
scoop them small for soup, even this scoop is a little big. heat skillet with a smidge of olive oil and get ready!
While those finish cooking, I get out the Guillotine (mandolin) that TOG bought me and shave my onions... I do not like big chunks of anything, but particularly onions. I shave them fine and then mince through them with a knife. And I really like Vidalia, Walla Walla Sweets and Mayan Sweets. This is a Mayan.
Then carrots and celery...
By then, the meatballs are done and it's time to throw the veggies in the pan for a quick saute... I have no idea why I do this except I hate when they're not done, and it smells really good!
Now, pour the rest of the first carton of broth in a big soup pot. Add your lentils and pasta with whatever broth is in that pan and add the veggies from the skillet...
Add half of the second carton of broth, half the meatballs (try a few first, just for quality control purposes) and what the heck, throw in some frozen corn... don't measure, just put in what makes you happy.
Select herbs, I'm going with thyme, tarragon and flat leaf parsley
Minced of course...
Another 10 minutes for things to blend nicely...Add the remainder of second box of broth...
Oh yeah, soup's on!
Now, more variables... you can make this with beef broth. I leave out the corn if I do and make sourdough/thyme croutons. Add more parsely too.
Adjust the veggies to your liking. I only used 1/4 of an onion, 2 small stalks celery and 5 baby carrots because I was in a rush. Take time and dice up more.
Add all the meatballs... you may need more stock but you'd have a very meaty soup.
Sub other veggies... you could easily add potatoes, leeks or any number of other options and just expand the cooking time.