I found the recipe in a 2003 Bon Appetit and kept it in the back of my files for a long time. I’ve always been skeptical of ground turkey and chicken. The meat tends to dry out easily and gets really tough. I gave it a shot for this soup, hoping if I cooked the meatballs in the broth they’d stay nice and tender. It worked and we all loved it. I think it’s a great weeknight recipe for any family dinner. Enjoy!
Turkey Meatball Soup with Orzo and Spinach
8 cups (or more) good quality chicken stock, preferably low sodium
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, peeled and diced
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tsp minced garlic
coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 pound ground dark meat turkey
3/4 cup orzo or other small pasta
4 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
Place the chicken stock, carrots, celery, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Whisk egg and milk in medium bowl to blend. Add the breadcrumbs and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the turkey and, using your hands, gently blend the ingredients until they are well distributed. Using wet hands, gently shape turkey mixture into 1-inch meatballs. As you form the meatballs, carefully drop them into the simmering soup. When all the meatballs are in, cover the pot and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the meatballs have risen to the top. The soup can be cooled and refrigerated at this point, up to 2 days.
Just before serving, bring the soup to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until just tender, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and taste the soup, seasoning as needed with additional salt and pepper. Ladle into warm soup bowls and serve.
Let me know what you think.