Pork Meatball Soup with Spinach and Orzo

Pork Meatball Soup

Even though this fall seems to be particularly warm, I am still really excited about soup season.  So, I just pretend that it's not 70ΒΊ or 80ΒΊ out, and still make soup.  Because, in reality, it's generally dark by the time we eat dinner around 5:30 or 6, and the warmth of the sun has disappeared.  So, it's really like fall then, right? 

Pork Meatball Soup

I generally make a lot of veggie soups, much to my husband's dismay.  He's a meat man, through and through.  I am not.  I mean, yes, we do have two box freezers full of local organic meat, so meat makes its way on to the menu most days of the week.  So, whenever I find a soup recipe that balances both the vegetables and meat, everyone is happy!  We always have a lot of ground pork, so I am always finding new ways to use it.  My all-time favorite way to use it is with the lemony pork meatballs and rice.  But now, this soup may take second place.  It touches base in all the right places, you have your greens, your lean meat, and your starch.  I mean really, how could it get any better?  Save this for a cold day, it will warm your soul.


Pork Meatball Soup with Spinach and Orzo

Yield: about 6-7 servings

For the meatballs

  • 3/4 cup panko
  • 1/4 cup wholemilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound ground pork or turkey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil

For the soup

  • 2 Tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 8 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta
  • 5 ounces baby spinach, with any long stems removed
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, for serving

Directions

To make the meatballs, mix all the ingredients, except the oil together in a medium bowl until combined.  Scoop the meat into small rounds, about 1 tablespoon each.

Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until shimmering.  Add the meatballs to the hot skillet and cook until browned on all sides and cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate.

In a large soup pot, heat the 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering over medium-high heat.  Stir in the celery, carrots, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Stir in the meatballs and orzo.  Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover.  Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is tender.  Stir in the spinach in the last 2 minutes of cooking.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

Dish the soup into serving bowls and garnish with extra grated Parmesan cheese.

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Source: Adapted from Simply Recipes