Happy October! We’ve officially made it to Fall, y’all! That means apple picking, cider drinking, pumpkin patching, leaf changing, scarf wearing, pie baking, cozy soup making, and all the other lovely things happening this time of year.
Autumn has definitely set in here in Tacoma. Mornings begin a little slower, with it ever-more-tempting to stay snuggled up under the covers on chilly, grey days. Fiery splashes of crimson and ochre have begun to dot our enduring backdrop of evergreen pines. Pumpkins and gourds sit proudly on display at the markets (and frequently roasting in our oven), and we’ve already sipped on our first batch of homemade apple cider.
We’re transitioning from fresh summer salads for nearly every meal to slow braises, lots of roasted vegetables, and my favorite category of fall eats: warm and comforting savory soups.
The base of this Tuscan kale and chicken meatball soup begins, as most soups do, with a quick caramelized mirepoix. That lovely trifecta of onion, celery and carrots, along with leeks, is layered upon with garlic, a generous squeeze of lemon, and Italian herbs, before bubbling away in a rich chicken stock. You’ll want to use the most flavorful stock you can find – or better yet make your own – as it gives this savory soup much of its flavor.
The chicken meatballs, packed with caramelized onion, garlic and Parmesan cheese, are wonderful on their own, or over pasta, but become extra special when added to this simmering soup stock. I like to use chicken thigh meat, but you could also use ground turkey (or beef or pork). On a weeknight, you could speed up dinner time by using pre-made (see recipe notes) or store-bought meatballs, or even just chop up some rotisserie chicken.
A few minutes before serving, I add the cooked meatballs and a few handfuls of roughly-chopped lacinato (Tuscan) kale, which just begins to wilt in the steamy broth. If kale isn’t your cup of tea, try using subtler, more delicate greens, such as spinach or Swiss chard. Really, any dark leafy green would work nicely. Lastly, a dusting of parmesan cheese and a hunk of crunchy bread are all that’s required before diving into this rich, flavorful, cozy soup.Print