A Minestrone for Spring
Here at last! May 16 and it is finally SPRING! Spring, as in the weather itself, not the date on the calendar. Several days in a row have been warm with those cool nights, so perfect for sleeping. Chilly winter days usually come to mind when soup is on the table. Not so this one. Leeks, carrots, pasta, spinach, and mini meatballs float in a sea of light, flavorful broth. The savory broth was a delightful surprise. I tweaked this recipe a bit from the one I found in Bon Appétit. I replaced the ground chicken with ground turkey, just because the butcher had some ready to go. Next time I’ll try ground chicken. Then, I baked the meatballs, rather than browning them in oil, as a healthier alternative. The chives are already up in my herb garden, a few steps from my door. This soup would be perfect for lunch or a light supper. Just add a tossed salad to complete the meal. Other spring vegetables could be added, such as sugar snap peas. Try this recipe before those cool nights turn warm and humid, which may be just around the corner. Try this one and tell me what you think.
6 oz. ground chicken or turkey
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup chicken broth
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped finely
1 large egg, whisked well
3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
1 – 2 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, white and pale green parts only
5 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup small pasta or 1 1/2 cups larger egg noodles
1 cup sliced carrot rounds
1 cup (packed) baby spinach
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Add 1/2 cup broth to the bread crumbs.
- Cut leek in half, the long-way. Rinse well between layers and slice thinly into half-moons
- Mix chicken, bread crumbs, minced garlic clove, chives, egg, salt and pepper to taste. Form into 1/2-inch meatballs. Grease a baking sheet lightly. Place meatballs on baking sheet. Bake for 14 minutes, turning half-way through. Remove from oven.
- Heat olive oil in soup pot and sauté leeks for about 3 minutes, until softened.
- Add broth and water to pot and bring to a boil.
- Add pasta and carrots and simmer about 8 minutes until the pasta is almost done.
- Add meatballs, spinach, and remaining Parmesan. Stir until spinach is wilted and Parmesan is melted. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.
- Garnish with shaved Parmesan, if desired.
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