Curried Chicken Meatball Soup
Saturday, November 7, 2015
Ever had a good meatball soup?
How’s that for a conversation starter? So much more interesting than “so, what do you do for a living?”. Who cares?! Let’s talk about the return of soup season!
Now that you’ve fished the heavier jackets from the back of the closet, lamented the fact that it’s dark at like 3:00, and the stores are already decorated for the holidays (WTH?!), there are some things to celebrate with the arrival of cooler weather. Jeans, sweaters, and the very real prospect of not shaving your legs until May all come to mind. Cooler temps also means big steaming, hearty (and healthy) bowls of soup. Yassss…come to me you smoldering cauldron of happiness.
OK, I might be a little too exuberant about cooler weather….and soup. Honestly, there are few things in cooking that I love more than putting together a great soup. The kitchen is where I can let fly my most creative ideas, and soup provides the perfect canvas for letting the imagination run wild. Think about it; soup is a dish that you will find in just about every culture, which means inspiration can be found in every corner of the world and every aisle of your favorite market.
For this recipe, I drew from my love of anything curried and a gift of curry powder my friend Amy brought back when she visited one of the amazing spice markets in Istanbul. Every time I open that container and whiff that smoky, earthy slightly sweet aroma of the curry my mind just starts racing with ideas for how to use it. Another inspirations for this recipe? Honestly, it was also out of desperation to pull a healthy weeknight dinner together in under an hour. Mission accomplished.
This is one of those recipes that takes advantage of some real food shortcuts that I think can easily be overlooked by home cooks who pride themselves on cooking whole, healthy meals. You know the type…they can often be overheard painstakingly documenting last night’s organic feast extravaganza as just a little something they whipped up for a Wednesday dinner. I’m here to unabashedly admit that I often take the easy road to healthy cooking, and sometimes that means using the occasional bag of frozen vegetables, boxed chicken broth and cooked chicken meatballs. And I’m OK with that, thank you very much. (Do I get extra points for all of the packaged ingredients being organic?).
I’m here to tell you that there is no shame in having never made one pot of homemade chicken stock or in subbing frozen vegetables for fresh where you can. One of the biggest obstacles facing nearly everyone who wants to cook healthier is the perception that it takes too much time. Do yourself a favor and spend time taking a walk outside instead of chopping vegetables on a Tuesday night. It’s OK!
This recipe is also simplified by ditching the multiple spices involved in making a curry in favor of using a curry powder, which is a blend of many of the spices you’ll find in a more involved curry dish. Sauteing chopped onion and garlic with the curry powder gives the finished dish a cooked-all-day depth of flavor. Of course, using meatballs that you’ve previously cooked and frozen or, gasp, packaged organic meatballs from the freezer aisle of your grocer (there are some pretty good options out there—but be careful of the sodium content), makes this recipe a cinch.
There you have it–a simple and healthy weeknight meal. Go ahead, just slip that takeout menu back into the drawer it crept out of and get cooking!
Curried Chicken Meatball Soup
servings: serves 4 | time: About 40 minutes
1 small white onion, chopped
3 TBSP. unrefined virgin organic coconut oil (or olive oil)
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. dried harissa spice blend
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
2 TBSP. tomato paste
1 32-ounce container organic low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
3 10-ounce packages frozen farmers blend vegetables (carrots, peas, green beans)
20 small chicken meatballs
2 cups cooked thin rice stick noodles or cooked rice (optional)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Heat a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed stock pot over medium high heat. Add the coconut or olive oil
- Add the chopped onion and saute for 5 minutes until it becomes translucent
- Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute
- Add the curry powder, harissa, salt, pepper, and tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes until fragrant
- Add the broth and water and bring to a low simmer over medium heat
- Add the vegetables and cooked meatballs and simmer for 10 minutes
- Add the noodles or rice (if using) and cook for 1 minute
- Remove from heat and add cilantro
Be sure that each serving has 5 meatballs. Serve with a big salad.