Serves: 4 | Total Time: 35 Minutes
I love the way this meatball soup smells when it is simmering on the stove. It reminds me of hamburgers cooking on the grill. (Um, yeah.... I know it's February.... but spring is closer now than it was last month!)
I think the reason why this is one of my best winter soups is because it triggers thoughts of fresh spring breezes, summer birdsong, and lots of sunshine. This soup kicks up the hygge factor, for sure! There is nothing quite like a warm blanket, a bowl of comfort soup, and reminiscent thoughts of warmer seasons while the snow swirls around outside the windows.
Of course, I'm sure that adding fresh spinach in soup has nothing to do with this. (Kidding!) Fresh spinach is easy to get at the grocery store in the dead of winter (even way up here in the frozen tundra), and it adds so much vibrant color to what would otherwise be a very brown soup. Well, it lends garden flavor and bolsters nutrients, too - never bad things.
Normally I am not picky when it comes to ground beef, but for this meatball soup recipe I am going to insist that you use a good quality ground sirloin to make the meatballs. Ground sirloin gives this soup its characteristic, beefy burger aroma when it cooks, plus it helps to hold everything together. The flavors of the apple, scallions and spices can now seep gently into the broth without deflating the meatballs - always a nice bonus.
However, if a few of the meatballs break apart into smaller pieces, you'll get a nice hamburger soup texture. For this reason, this comfort meatball soup can stand is as an easy hamburger soup, or even mimic an Italian wedding soup with its cute little meatballs.
This soup has a silky broth that is not too spicy, not too salty... it is just right, in fact! As my husband Mark will say, broth is what makes soup so yummy. Comfort Meatball Soup tastes like it has been simmering all day, but only takes 35 minutes to make. It reheats well, so double up the recipe to put some in your soup thermos for tomorrow's lunch.
Hygge on the go.... is there such a thing?
Comfort Meatball Soup
Total Time: 35 Minutes
(Prep: 20 Minutes / Cook: 15 Minutes)
1 Granny Smith apple; peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground harissa
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon hot horseradish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 lb. ground sirloin
4 1/2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1/2 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
1. Add the first 11 ingredients to a medium bowl and mix well. Add the ground sirloin and mix with your hands until just combined. Do not over mix. Form into meatballs that are the size of golfballs and set on a clean plate. You should have about 28-30 meatballs.
2. Heat the beef broth in a pot over medium-high. While the broth heats, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet. Place the meatballs in the skillet in one layer and brown them. Do not crowd them, if you need to, brown the meatballs in 2 batches. (To get even browning on all sides, I use a small spatula and roll the meatballs around about every 30 seconds. Once the meatballs firm up, pick up the skillet and shake it around so the meatballs roll about inside it. This will keep them nice and round while browning them on all sides.) This should take a total of 3-4 minutes.
3. Pour the hot beef broth over the meatballs in the skillet and bring to a boil. Add the orzo pasta, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Add the spinach to the soup and stir gently, then cook for another 2 minutes or until the spinach is wilted but still bright green.
4. Serve in bowls and garnish with additional salt and pepper if desired.
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