Monday, February 28, 2011

Tortellini and Chicken Meatball Soup

Alright, I know.  This is not my first chicken soup recipe that I've posted.  Still, it was so good and so easy, I felt it must be shared.  I married together a recipe from a recipe by Chef Tyler Florence and a soup commonly found in Italian restaurants that I love, Tortellini en Brodo (tortellini in broth).   This version is fast, healthy and has simple, clean flavors that promise of warmer weather but is still hearty enough to satisfy on an evening where there's still a chill in the air. 

Chicken Meatballs:
1 pound ground chicken breast
sat and pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced (optional)
1/4-1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
olive oil for sauteing

Remaining soup ingredients:
1 one pound package refrigerated cheese tortellini (or frozen, mine were tri-color)
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted, but with basil and garlic would be good too)
2 quarts chicken broth
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon thyme
4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
black pepper
juice from 1/2 a lemon
shredded Parmesan cheese for serving

Crusty bread for serving

For the meatballs, preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, season ground chicken generously with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Add parsley, if using.  Add egg and stir gently to combine.  Stir in bread crumbs gradually until the mixture comes together in a mass and the egg is absorbed.  Using your hands, form chicken into small meatballs (about 1"-1 1/2" in diameter) and place on a baking sheet.  Continue until all meatballs are formed.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and roast in 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and set aside.  Conversely, you can also pan fry the meatballs in the olive oil, do them in batches using a skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally until well browned on all sides. 

In a large pot, bring chicken broth to a boil.  Stir in Italian seasoning, thyme and entire can of tomatoes.  Add tortellini and meatballs and reduce heat to medium high and simmer for 5 minutes or until tortellini is cooked through.  Roughly tear or chop baby spinach leaves into smaller pieces and stir into soup.  Add in freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Serve immediately seasoned with freshly ground black pepper and shredded Parmesan. 

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