I often make a huge batch of soup over the weekend, which will see Ben and I through lunches for a few days, as well as a quick weeknight dinner. This meatball soup recently wowed Ben, I think he managed a third serving and exclaimed over how much he'd loved it for days afterwards, which is generally the goal when it comes to cooking for Ben. He is actually, in my eyes, the better cook of the two of us - although his work is physically very demanding and he often works long hours - so I tend to do most of the cooking, and over the years, with a huge amount of guidance, support and encouragement from Ben, I have become very confident in the kitchen.
Back to the soup though, which is wonderfully rich and wholesome, packed with iron rich super (or soup-er in this instance) food kale. It is a flavoursome meal in itself, with no real need for accompaniments of any sort.
1/2 medium onion, finely sliced
4 tbsp gluten free breadcrumbs*
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
Generous pinch sea salt
Generous pinch black pepper
Good glug of extra virgin olive oil
Good glug extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely sliced
2 bay leaves - I used fresh, dried would also be lovely
1 tsp thyme powder, I use Fresh As freeze dried, a handful of fresh thyme would also be lovely
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 fresh chilli, finely sliced
400g tin whole peeled or diced tomatoes
750ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup dried lentils - I used a small split lentil, rinsed in water and dried
2-3 large kale stalks, stems removed
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
First make the meatballs. In a bowl, combine the lamb mince, onion, breadcrumbs, garlic, cinnamon, cumin, chilli, egg, salt and pepper. Combine the mixture with your hands or a wooden spoon. It is here that you can gently fry a small piece of the mixture in olive oil to check for seasoning, and adjust the remaining mix as required. Roll the rest of the mixture into small meatballs about the size of a walnut shell. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, and fry the meatballs in batches until lightly browned on all sides, about five minutes each batch. Set aside.
Next, the soup. Heat a good glug of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and fry the onions gently with the bay leaves and thyme, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft, about 15 minutes - I don't like to rush cooking onions as they give such good flavour to a meal when gently fried and cooked well. Add the garlic and chilli, and fry for a minute or two. Add the canned tomatoes, crushing them roughly against the side of the pan with a fork, stock and lentils. Bring to a gentle simmer and leave uncovered for 10-15 minutes. Taste and season with sea salt and black pepper if required.
Finally, gently add the meatballs to the soup and simmer, uncovered for a further 10 minutes. Add the kale a few minutes before serving.
This soup is incredibly substantial alone, but could be served with a dollop of natural yogurt and a sprinkling of fresh herbs.
* I make gluten free breadcrumbs by saving the crusts and ends of our gluten free bread, and placing on a baking tray at 50° until hard and dry. I then pop them into a food processor and blend until very fine. Stored in an airtight jar they will keep for several weeks.
Serves approx. 4-6