It’s mid January and quite cold in my part of the world! I crave soups when the weather is cold. I grew up in a home where every Saturday in the Winter, homemade soup was on the menu. My Mother would start the homemade stock early in the morning and by dinner time it was ready, usually with homemade pizza as an accompaniment. This made for a  predictable Saturday evening meal as we returned from the neighbourhood ice rink or toboggan hill. I have fond memories of arriving home to the wonderful smells coming from the kitchen.  My Mother would cook all day to produce this simple meal….

I love to make homemade stock from scratch, but in reality, I rarely am that organized to have it on hand for when I need it. I will make it ahead and freeze it but I find if I have good quality, ready made stock on hand I can make a quick soup at a moment’s notice. You can find good quality stocks in some butcher shops. They will make use of the bones and produce a homemade like product. You can also find plenty of products in your local grocery store in Tetra packs, ready to use, that store easily in the pantry.  The trick here is how do you know a good one? I look for as little ingredients as possible and make sure I recognize everything on the label. I like no salt, or low salt. Once you have stock on hand the rest is easy….

This Italian inspired soup is a favorite in my house. There is plenty of protein and vegetables in it so it really could be a meal on it’s own. I might add a salad for a few more vegetables. Tell me what you think!

Ciao for now, Natalina

Italian turkey meatball soup with spinach

Ingredients: Meatballs

1 pound lean, ground turkey

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. black ground pepper

½ cup fine, plain breadcrumbs

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 egg

¼ cup of water


Ingredients: Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 carrots, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 ½ tablespoons of tomato paste

1 cup of dry rice (white, brown or wild) cooked, but not fully

¼ tsp dry thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped thyme

½ Tablespoon salt (you may not need this if there is salt in the stock)

½ tsp. ground black pepper

5 oz., 4 cups, trimmed, washed baby spinach or kale leaves

1 ½ litres homemade or good quality chicken stock (no salt or reduced salt)

Method: Meatballs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix all the meatball ingredients in a bowl until combined well. Form into 12 large meatballs or 24 medium sized. Place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicon sheet.  Bake until internal temperature reaches about 65 degrees Celsius, almost fully cooked.

Method: Soup

While you are baking the meatballs, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Add the carrots, celery and onion. Sweat until fragrant and translucent, not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix in until it becomes deep in colour, might stick to the bottom of the pot. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the partially cooked rice. Add the meatballs and thyme, salt (only if the stock is low salt/salt free) and pepper.  Continue on simmer until the rice and meatballs are fully cooked (71 degrees celsius, internal temp) and the flavours have blended. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add the spinach and stir until wilted.

Serve with grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy! 6 servings

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