It’s been gray and rainy here for the last week, so tonight I decided to make a pick-me-up kind of soup. Like the title says, this is not an exact science. It will take a little time to prepare, about an hour and a half or so, but it’s easy, looks nice in a bowl, and will impress people who like things like bacon-wrapped chicken meatballs.
Harvest Soup with Kale and Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Meatballs
Servings – Approximately 4 to 6 people (depends on how hungry everyone is)
- 5-6 Medium Carrots
- 1 Large Red Onion
- 3 Parsnips
- 4 Celery Stalks (I usually leave the leafy tops on when they look nice and just chop and toss them all in)
- About 8 oz. of Kale, stems removed and leaves torn up
- 2 or 3 Handfuls of Your Favorite Baby/Fingerling Potato (I used Baby Butter Potatoes)
- 1 Can Great Northern or Cannelloni Beans, Drained and Rinsed
- 1/2 Pkg. Bacon
- 1 lb. Ground Chicken
- 1/3 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
- Around 6 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
- 1 Cube of Bullion, either Chicken or Vegetable (or 1 & 1/2 cups of stock)
- Ground Mustard Powder
- Chili Powder
- Salt and Pepper
Prep first so you have everything ready to go – in a large pot or dutch oven, dice (small pieces, it doesn’t have to be perfect) and throw in the carrots, onion, parsnips, and celery. If you are like me where onion really bothers your eyes, after you cut the onion into halves, rinse each half under cool water for a minute or two, rubbing your fingers over the cut part – if it doesn’t make the irritation go away entirely, it will definitely cut down on it. Add salt and pepper to taste, and about three tablespoons of olive oil, and sweat all the veg. in the pot together until the onions and celery go translucent and start to melt in, about twenty minutes. Take half of the veg. out of the pot and set aside. To the rest add your stock (or bullion) and about three cups of water. If you have an immersion blender, great, if not just pour it into a regular blender (be careful with hot liquids, you may have to do it in batches) puree the liquid until there are no large bits left. Now, to this liquid, add your kale. When cleaning kale, you rinse in cold water, tear the soft leafy part off the stem, and unless you want to make a stock later, just compost or throw out the stems. If you purchase a bag of already cleaned kale, you will have to check the pieces (the bagged stuff still has a lot of stem left on) before you use them. Now, add your kale to the pot, stirring occasionally over medium heat as it reduces. Be sure to add more water, at least three-fourths up the side of the pot. Add back in the vegetables you set aside. While the pot simmers, clean and quarter your potatoes, and add them to the pot. At this point, you may want to salt/pepper the water again, to help season the potatoes, and check the water level – you want it to stay pretty close to the edge of the pot. Stir occasionally. Add in your beans just before you start to pan fry the chicken.
While the pot simmers and smells lovely, break out the ground chicken – unload it into a bowl, with some salt and pepper, mustard powder, and chili powder (as much or as little as you like). Squish it up until it comes together and roll into ping pong sized balls. Cut your bacon strips in half. Take a strip, wrap it around your meatball, and place it on a plate. That’s it, that easy. The chicken and bacon are both on the stickier side, so they adhere well, no need for toothpicks or skewers to keep them together. In a small pan on medium-high heat, with a few tablespoons of olive oil, fry a few meatballs at a time, being sure to turn them. It should be about five or six minutes per meatball, if you don’t have the temperature too high. Roll them around on a paper towel to get off any extra grease as you take them out, and then throw them into the pot. If you’re worried about the doneness of the chicken – don’t. Any unfinished cooking will happen in the soup pot, because you will be patient and give the soup about fifteen more minutes after adding the meatballs.
And that’s it. Really – it’s not an exact science. 🙂