If a recipe can be adapted for whatever I have on hand, well, that’s a recipe for me! Dorie Greenspan, a terrific food columnist found in the New York Times, a cookbook author and a baker is my hero in this regard. Oftentimes one of her recipes can be adapted in multiple ways which suits the way we cook and eat perfectly.
In this meatball soup recipe, I made the full amount of meatballs, but used just half for our evening meal. The other half recipe has been stowed away in the freezer for another evening, or as Dorie suggests, to use in a bean dish or as a sandwich filling.
The full recipe can be found in Everyday Dorie (link will direct you to local independent bookstores) beginning on page 75 or on Dorie Greenspan’s website (link in the recipe title). I served the soup up with some freshly baked bread and Sriracha sauce. Honestly, though, whatever add-ins float your boat, this recipe is both delicious and warming – the perfect antidote for cool Fall evenings.
Greenspan, D. Everyday Dorie: The way I cook. (2018). New York: Houghton Mifflin. p 75.
For the meatballs
- 1 large egg
- 1⁄4 cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek (I used 0% Fage)
- 1⁄2 cup finely chopped onion, rinsed and patted dry
- 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, basil or a mix
- 1⁄2 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
- 2 garlic cloves, germ removed, and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound ground turkey, preferably organic
- 2 1⁄2 quarts chicken broth
For the soup
- 1⁄2 pound rice noodles (sticks or straight- cut)
- About 4 cups (about 600 grams) chopped, sliced and/ or shredded mixed vegetables, such as peeled carrots, onions, mushrooms, cabbage (Napa or green), mustard greens, kale and/or spinach (I used a mix of half fresh baby spinach and half frozen mixed veg. Next time around, I’ll know to set aside the extra veggies from a week’s cooking)
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1⁄3 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as cilantro, basil, parsley and/or mint
- Soy sauce, Asian sesame oil, rice vinegar and Sriracha, for serving (To know me is to know I chose Sriracha)
WORKING AHEAD: You can make the meatballs ahead. Uncooked, they can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours. Once cooked, you can refrigerate them in some broth for up to 4 days or freeze them in an airtight bag for up to 2 months. The broth can be made up to 4 days ahead and kept in the refrigerator. (This is exactly what I did – empty nesters rejoice!)
TO MAKE THE MEATBALLS: Put the egg in a large bowl and stir with a fork to break it up. Add all the remaining ingredients except the turkey and broth and lightly stir, toss and mix to blend. Add the meat and, using the fork and then your fingers, turn and mix — again, go easy — until blended.
Using a medium cookie scoop (one with a capacity of about 1 1⁄2 tablespoons) or a tablespoon, scoop out meat- balls (you’ll get 24 to 30), then roll them between your palms to round them. (At this point, you can cover the meatballs and refrigerate them for up to 6 hours, or freeze them on a lined baking sheet until they’re solid, then pack them in an airtight bag.)
Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot, then lower the heat so that it simmers.
Drop the meatballs into the broth and, keeping it at a light, steady simmer, poach them, turning them over once, until cooked through, about 8 minutes. You’ll probably want to do this in batches. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to a large bowl. The broth will be a little murky. If you’d like it to be clearer, line a strainer with dampened cheesecloth (or a triple layer of dampened paper towels) and pour the broth through it into a bowl; rinse out the pot. (You can put the meatballs in a container and freeze them for up to 2 months. Or cover with broth and refrigerate for up to 4 days; refrigerate the remainder of the broth separately.)
TO MAKE THE SOUP: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the rice noodles and cook for 4 minutes, then drain and transfer the noodles to a large bowl. Cover with cold water, toss in a few ice cubes and set aside until needed.
Bring the broth to a boil in the pot, then lower the heat so that it simmers. If your meatballs have been frozen, drop them into the broth and cook for 10 minutes; if chilled, cook for about 5 minutes; and if just made, sim- ply drop them in. Add the vegetables to the pot and sim- mer for about 5 minutes. (If you’re using carrots, they’ll remain slightly firm.) Drain the noodles, add them to the pot and cook until hot — they’ll heat very quickly. Taste for salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup, noodles and meatballs into deep bowls, dividing them equally. Sprinkle over the herbs and serve with the soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar and Sriracha. Encourage everyone to season to taste.
Dorie Greenspan has some terrific serving suggestions (Choices) and storage instruction on p 77.