When the call came a little over three years ago that our daughter had been born, we immediately set to work packing our car. As part of our adoption story, we moved to Texas to be with our daughter for her first month as we awaited approval to cross state lines and bring her home.
She is our first child and so our knowledge of what babies actually need was limited. As the car filled, I made the decision to remove the pack and play in favor of a box of spices and pantry essentials. A day later, driving across the state of Mississippi, my good friend (and mother of three children), gently suggested that perhaps that wasn’t the wisest choice. “After all,” she said, “Texas has grocery stores.”
Fast forward to last week when my OB/GYN told my husband and me that she thought baby girl #2 was going to arrive a week or two earlier than expected. I called my mother, who will be helping us out with our first while we are in the hospital, on the way home to let her know that we might need her sooner than expected.
Later that day, I got a text from my mom that her bags were packed and her car was ready to go. I had spent the day making chicken stock and puttering around the kitchen.
On reflection, it seems that my nesting instinct involves a weird, apocalypse-approaching fear that we will run out of food. Forget diapers, clean closets, and packed hospital bags, you’ll find me in the kitchen making sure my pantry is fully stocked.
Today, I’m happy to report that my hospital bag is partially packed and my labors in the kitchen have already yielded good things like this chicken meatball soup. Yes, I could use store-bought chicken broth, but homemade stock makes this homey soup all the more special. Plus with literally quarts of chicken stock in my freezer I was able to make a particularly big batch that we will enjoy for weeks to come here in our well-provisioned nest. Happy cooking!
Chicken Meatball Soup – Printer Friendly Recipe
This recipe makes a big batch of soup, but broth soups freeze well and I like having a homemade dinner at my fingertips. If looking to make this soup even heartier I suggest adding drained cannellini beans or noodles to the mix.
For the meatballs (makes about 75 small meatballs):
2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs ground chicken
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup drained and finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/3 cup minced flat leaf parsley
Special equipment: parchment paper
For the soup:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 yellow onions, finely chopped
4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 celery stalks, trimmed and finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with its juices
1 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
12 cups homemade or less-sodium store-bought chicken stock
4 cups sliced kale
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
To make the meatballs, heat the two tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for about five minutes or until soft and golden brown. Stir in the garlic cloves and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Scrape the onions and garlic into a large mixing bowl and let cool.
Add the remaining meatball ingredients to the sautéed onion and garlic and use your hands to mix everything together until well-combined. Shape the meatballs into 1-inch rounds and place on the parchment lined baking sheets. You should end up with about 75 meatballs.
Bake the meatballs for 30 minutes. While the meatballs cook, prepare the soup as directed below.
In a very large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the diced tomatoes and its juices to the pot and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes then add in the vermouth and reduce by half.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for 15 minutes to develop the flavor. Stir in the kale and the meatballs and return the soup to a simmer. Simmer for five minutes until the kale wilts and the meatballs are heated through. Serve immediately with crusty bread and a nice salad. Happy cooking!