cooking minette’s italian wedding soup

how to make a delicious gluten free italian wedding soup {sort of} with lots of yummy meatballs and baby kale:

gluten free italian meatball soup with organic meatballs & baby kale

what do you do when you find yourself with a huge bag of beautiful organic baby kale you couldn’t resist buying at the store? you think about all sorts of ways you might use said kale in foods and salads before it goes bad (we’re talking a HUGE bag). if you’re me, for some odd reason, you think about a steaming hot bowl of italian wedding soup loaded with luscious meatballs. and then you go from there-starting the meatballs by combining a few simple ingredients in a bowl: organic (grass fed) ground beef, thinly sliced scallions, chopped italian parsley, sea salt, pepper, a touch of smoked paprika (just because), and just a hit of chick pea flour (or corn flour). once you’ve rolled the little meatballs and added them to a pot of sizzling minced onions in olive oil, you are almost there. it’s been cold out there this winter (in most areas of the world)-take heart: this soup truly warms you inside and out. better start rolling those meatballs!

ingredients for 4 servings of minette’s italian wedding soup:

  • cooking minette's meatballs for soup1 pound organic ground beef (or turkey)-preferably 7% fat only
  • 1 medium to large onion, finely chopped
  • a bunch of scallions (green onions) finely sliced (6-8)
  • a small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • sea salt & pepper to taste (for salt, per bon appetit: as a rule, about 1 tsp per pound will make for perfectly salted meatballs)
  • 2-3 tsp chickpea flour (or corn flour)-some might add breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (optional) or cayenne pepper for spicy
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes (roma tomatoes are good) finely cubed
  • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 1.5-2 cups of organic baby kale (adjust amount to taste, or substitute with spinach if you prefer)
  • 1/2-1 cup italian gluten fee (or your choice) orzo
  • 3 cups preferably homemade beef or chicken broth
  • 1-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • good freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. cooking minette's gluten free italian wedding soupmake the meatballs by combining meat, scallions, 2/3rds of the parsley, sea salt & freshly ground pepper, smoked paprika, and chick pea flour in a bowl and mixing by hand (use gloves)-the light touch of your hands incorporates all the ingredients without crushing the meat. don’t over-mix into a paste–full pieces of ground meat should still be visible. add a few teaspoons of water if necessary. gluten free orzo for souproll little balls (bite size is best for soup) out of the mixture and set aside on a plate.
  2. heat the oil in a dutch oven, add onions and fry on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes before adding the meatballs carefully and allowing them to brown on one side (medium heat) before turning them carefully to brown the other.baby kale in soup
  3. when the meatballs and onions are browned, add 3-4 cups of water and three cups of broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow the meatballs to cook for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. add cubed tomatoes (or stewed tomatoes from a jar) and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  5. add the orzo and allow it to cook until they plump up and become tender, then add the remaining parsley and the kale. add a little more broth to the pot if necessary, then cook for another 15 minutes. add the lemon juice (to taste) before serving. taste and adjust seasoning.
  6. sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  7. buon appetito!cooking minette's italian wedding soup

 

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let’s make soup, shall we? butternut squash soup with coconut cream & a hint of nutmeg

butternut squash soupthere’s nothing like a good bowl of delicious piping hot {home made} soup to make you feel  like you’re right where you’re supposed to be. it warms you as it fills you up, rounds out the edges, and makes you feel balanced somehow. content. at home. or is it just me? i miss my grandma more and more each day. i yearn for her voice, her gentle touch, her quiet presence, and her warm embrace. it’s impossible for me to make a pot of soup or stew (or food of any kind, really), without feeling her warm presence around me. guiding me. making me feel  safe and whole. at home. that’s what it is-the connection i feel with soup{making}…it’s that kind of food. one of the main reasons why i make it as often as i do. The other (rather important) reason is  that i’m trying, yet again, to cut out the processed grains and things i’m told (repeatedly) do not like me or my joints as much as i seem to enjoy them. soooo, moving reluctantly towards more vegetable based soups, proteins, salads, and less grains: rice, wheat, {flour} pasta, sugar. waaaahhhhhhh! do i have to?  yesidoyesidoyesido. if this butternut squash soup is any indication, things will be just fine-it was deeeeeliciouuuussss: slightly sweet, satisfyingly creamy, and perfectly rounded with  the touch of nutmeg and coconut cream. smiling wide as i remember something important-we have leftovers!

minette’s butternut squash soup for 4-6:

  • cooking minette's butternut squash soup1 small/medium butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, and cubed (about 1.5 to 2 cups)
  • 3-4 stalks of organic celery, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, cubed (or 2 leeks cleaned carefully and chopped)
  • 4 cups good quality (preferably homemade) chicken broth (or broth of choice)
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (or substitute with ground cumin if you prefer)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup coconut cream (or cream)
  • 2 tsp virgin unrefined coconut oil (or olive oil)
  1. heat the oil in a heavy soup pot, then add the onions and celery, sauté for two minutes before adding butternut squash, salt, & pepper to taste. sauté on med/high until softened (while stirring frequently), about 5-7 minutes.
  2. add broth (a very important component-a good home made one will make the soup so much better), bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until squash pieces can be mashed with a fork. add nutmeg (or cumin) and simmer another 5-10 minutes (your liquid should have reduced quite a bit by now).taste and adjust seasoning. blend with an immersion blender or by pouring carefully into a blender.
  3. serve with a drizzle of coconut cream.
  4. enjoy the deliciouscreamywarmth  you are about to experience.

 

nminette's soup

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a collaborative effort: mommon’s goosh bareh, or lamb’s ear (not really) soup

goosh bareh, a spicy tomato based soup with delicate beef filled dumplings originates from azerbaijan, to the north west of iran. it is my grandmother’s specialty (she was born in azerbaijan), and as i remember it, she was often asked by friends and family to make it (probably because once you have this soup, you will crave it forever). my sister and i loved the ritual of making the little lamb’s ears (or beef filled dumplings that are thought to resemble lamb’s ears), and would beg to be allowed to help-when i say ritual, it truly was a collaborative effort to make this dish. when my grandma (and her gang of helpers) made it, they made enough to share with family members, friends, and sometimes (at least it seemed like) the whole neighborhood.  in reminiscing about the old days with my sister, we decided it was time for us to make our first attempt at making goosh bareh—we thought it would be relatively simple…we used to do it all the time as kids, right? well, halfway through our first attempt we realized  we were no experts at this. the main issue we came across was that we didn’t make the dough thin enough (more like the dough was not cooperating). if you decide to make this-and you should- one day when you have some time and patience on your side, make sure to make the dough as thin as possible, and to keep the thin sheet of dough moist on one side (with a moist cloth) while you work on the other. cover the dumpling you make with a damp cloth to keep them moist as well. as you can see, we didn’t really follow our own advice, and our dumplings looked (and tasted) relatively dry (hard).

for the dough:
these goosh bareh’s actually came out a little thick-you should strive for thinner dough-
i will update my pictures when i make my next (and hopefully much thinner) batch

  • 2 cups self raising (all purpose) flour (you can make your own self raising flour by combining 1 cup all purpose flour with 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt). 
  • 1 organic egg yolk only
  • 3-4  tbsp cold water (adjust as needed-let the dough talk to you:)
  • pinch of sea salt
sift together the flour and salt (in a bowl or on a cutting board), and make a well in the middle, add the egg yolk and water and start kneading the dough until smooth. cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 30 minutes.
for the meat filling:
  • 1/2-3/4 pound minced lean grass fed beef (or lamb)
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small bunch fresh mint, very finely chopped or 2-3 tsp dried mint
  • sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional for spicy)
  • mix all of the above together, and make small (size of a chickpea or slightly larger) sized meatballs.
cut the dough in straight criss crossing lines making squares that are about 1.5 by 1.5 inches, and place a little meat ball in the middle of each. bring 2 corners of the squares together ( you may want to use a touch of water for the edges)-this is where the patience comes in-then twist the 2 corners of the triangle around your fingers to make the ears (see pictures below)

finely chopped mint & shallot

ok, we are almost getting there…
for the soup-you will need really good home made chicken broth :
  • 1 whole organic chicken (you can used the cooked chicken for a salad or soup)
  • 1 large onion
  • sea salt, cracked pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • small bunch of parsley
  • 4-5 cups filtered water
  • let it cook (slow simmer) for at least 60-90 minutes, then strain
for the soup:4-5 cups good chicken broth

  • 3 large vine ripened tomatoes, preferably peeled, all but one pureed-the remaining one cubed
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 tbs saffron water (saffron strands seeped in a few drops of warm water)
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2-1 serrano chili, deseeded, finely chopped (optional for spicy)
  • 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tbs dried mint (not spearmint)
  • a splash of olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime

add the pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt & pepper, chili pepper, dried mint, and olive oil to the broth and bring to a boil, let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, then add 1/2 of the chopped (finely cubed) tomato, saffron water, and 1/2 of the parsley, simmer for another 5 minutes, then add the dumplings (you can also cook them separately in boiling salted water and then add to soup), and cook for about 10-12 minutes until they are soft. add lemon juice and remaining cubed tomato and parsley just before serving. remember to taste the soup and adjust your seasonings. welcome to the exclusive goosh bareh lovers club!!

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