I love meatballs and I love chicken noodle soup, so this seems like a good recipe to try out. It came out amazing the first time I made it and it has now become a regular staple in our house. The meatballs are tender, with a ton of flavor. I’ve made it both with regular lean ground chicken and 99% fat free ground chicken – use the regular lean (which is like 93% lean). The extra fat content gives it a smoother, fuller flavor, which in turns gives the soup a richer flavor. If you need the lower fat for health reasons, the soup will still taste great (I promise), but you’ll need to add something for a little richness (like a touch of worcestershire sauce).
I was fully planning to use orzo for this batch of soup, but my pantry had other plans. While I had a box of orzo, it was all clumped in the bottom of the box in a weird way and I didn’t want to risk some kind of botulism because I used clumpy pasta. So I used thin, broken egg noodles for this recipe today. But honestly, any short pasta will be fine. You could probably even substitute zucchini noodles for this.
You can find the original recipe for this here: https://damndelicious.net/2018/01/24/chicken-meatball-noodle-soup/
I’ve made several of her recipes and they’ve all come out great.
Chicken Meatball Noodle Soup
For the meatballs:
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1/4 cup ground parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp EACH garlic powder, dried oregano, and dried basil
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- Zest from half a lemon (optional)
- salt & pepper
For the soup:
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup orzo (if you use another short pasta, like ditalini or broken spaghetti, I would recommend a full cup)
- 8 cups of chicken broth (I use low-sodium)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- Juice from 1 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
I chopped all my veggies first and set them aside so they’d be ready when I wanted to saute them. To make your meatballs, mix together all the ingredients. It felt weird to me not to put an egg in the meatball mixture, but you really don’t need one – I promise. If the meat mixture feels sticky to you, wet your hands when you roll them into meatballs. You want 3/4 to 1 inch size meatballs. A pound of meat will make about 25-30 meatballs that size. I read somewhere that for every pound of ground of meat you use, you should use 1 tsp salt. It might seem like a lot, but you’ll need to salt for flavor.
Preheat a large soup pot over medium high heat. I do my meatballs in three batches. Once the pot is heated, add about a tablespoon of oil or a little less if your surface area is smaller and brown the meatballs, removing them to a plate as they brown. I found that my meatballs stuck to the bottom of the pot, even with a lot of oil. But that’s okay! You’re going to deglaze the pot and all those brown bits will come up and be part of the soup.
Once the meatballs are browned on all sides (they shouldn’t be cooked through at this point), move them to a plate. Add more oil, about a tablespoon, to the pot and then add your onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook until the veggies are softened and the onion is translucent, about five minutes. This will also be a good chance to scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add in the dried thyme and stir. Let cook together for about a minute.
Pour in your 8 cups of chicken broth and your two bay leaves. Bring the soup to a boil, then add your pasta and your meatballs and a spring of rosemary. You don’t have to pull off the leaves – just add the whole spring. You’re going to fish it out later when you pull out the bay leaves.
Let the soup cook, uncovered, for about 10-12 minutes or until the pasta is tender and the meatballs are cooked through. Then add the juice from the lemon into the pot – don’t skip this step. It brightens up the whole soup.
The recipe is listed at 4 servings – that’s a pretty generous serving. Steve and I each had two bowls the first time I made it and I still had enough for two more nights of leftovers.
This recipe is 6 WW SmartPoints on the Blue Plan.