Soup That Warms the Soul

 I’ve officially hit the winter doldrums.  That’s when I’ve had just about enough of the cold weather and I start counting down to Spring.  Tick Tock. Tick Tock. Tick Tock…..

There are a few times when I actually do have fun in the cold.  I spend a few weekends in February enjoying the snow at both Seven Springs and Nemacolin.  But at my house — I don’t have ski slopes or tubing parks or ice sculptures or sleigh rides or spas or breakfast buffets to help me get through …… so I have to figure something else out.

So on this past weekend — we were on the hunt for a good warm soup recipe to melt away the chill.  Maybe something to include a crusty bread and some fresh cheese on top.  We settled on an Italian meatball soup from The Pioneer Woman. It was delicious and easy to make.

This isn’t something to try on a weeknight unless you can start it early,  are willing to eat late, or can do all the prep work ahead of time because it does take a while to get started (30 minutes prep time, 45 minute cook time) …. but it is the perfect thing to warm up your soul on a chilly evening.

Ingredients

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 3/4 pounds Ground Beef
  • 1/2 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, Minced
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Oregano
  •      FOR  THE SOUP:
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 7 cups Low Sodium Beef Stock
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 3/4 cups Onion, Chopped
  • 3/4 cups Carrots, Chopped
  • 3/4 cups Celery, Chopped
  • 1 cup Russet Potato, Chopped (do Not Peel)
  • 1/2 pound Cabbage Chopped
  • Romano Cheese To Serve
  •   THINGS TO TIE UP IN A CHEESECLOTH BUNDLE: 
  • 4 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, Minced
  • 2 whole Bay Leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Peppercorns

First make the meatballs because they need to chill for 30 minutes. Just  combine all meatball ingredients and mix well. Shape into small balls and stick in the fridge for half an hour.

Next, make the cheesecloth bundle. Oddly enough,  my grocery store doesn’t have the cheesecloth in the baking section but in the cleaning section. Go figure.  Anyway, take 4 tablespoons of parsley, bay leaves, and peppercorns and tie them up in a cheesecloth bundle to make an herb bag. (This will float around in the soup for flavor.)

Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a heavy pot. Briefly brown meatballs, then remove to a plate. In that same pot, add beef stock, water, salt, tomato paste, and herb bag. Bring to a boil, then simmer 30 minutes.

Add onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes. Simmer 15 more minutes. Remove herb bag.

Add cabbage and meatballs. Bring to a boil, then simmer 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve with plenty of freshly grated Romano cheese sprinkled over the top. And be sure to have some good bread  on the side you’ll want to use it to sop up every last drop!

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