My mom used to make this beautiful chicken meatball soup. It literally had nothing else but meatballs and broth. Broth was light golden in color and clear as crystal, and meatballs were very soft, yet never falling apart. She used short grain rice to give meatballs extra body, and shredded carrots and onions for added flavor. She called them frikadellers, which wasn’t entirely accurate, but it made meatballs seem all the more enticing to us kids.
As the clock was quickly approaching lunch time, I found myself smack in the middle of a meatball soup craving. Having dug out a pound of frozen ground beef from the depths of the freezer, I was good to go.
The goal was to keep it as simple as possible, and cook very slowly to preserve the clarity. I opted out of broth and meatballs only, and added vegetables to the pot, along with some baby bella mushrooms. The soup renders very nice color and clarity, but it has plenty of body at the same time. Sounds pretty darn good, I only wish it was colder outside, so that we could fully appreciate the heartiness.
Here are the What and How, for this batch:
Meatball Soup With Mushrooms
- 1 lbs ground beef
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 1 medium onion, shredded or very finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of precooked rice (short grain is best, but I used leftover Basmati from last night’s dinner)
- 2-3 tbsp finely chopped herbs (sage, parsley, oregano – whatever you have)
- 1 tsp salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger (optional)
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice (optional)
- 1 tbsp butter or oil
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 large carrot cut into rounds
- about 6 cups of beef stock + 2 cups of water
- 2 large red potatoes, peeled and cubed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- a few sprigs of mixed herbs, tied together
- 1 cup of baby bella mushrooms, cut in half lengthwise
- fresh chopped herbs for garnish
In a bowl, combine all meatball ingredients. Using your hands, mix everything very well. Make a ball out of farce, and slap it a few times on all sides to get rid of air pockets. Set aside.
Melt butter in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Toss in chopped onions and celery at first, saute for a few minutes, stirring, until onions are translucent. Take care not to brown the onions.
Add carrot rounds, and gently stirring saute for a few more minutes.
Add stock and potatoes. Bring to a boil quickly, then reduce heat to medium.
Using your hands, shape farce into meatballs, one tablespoon at a time and gently drop them into the boiling soup. When finished, you may need to add some water to cover the meatballs. Wait until soup is boiling again, reduce heat to low.
Add tied herbs and a bay leaf. Season to your liking. Simmer for about 40 minutes or so.
Add mushrooms. Cook for another 10 minutes. Check seasoning again. Remove from heat and add chopped herbs.