"Life isn't long enough to do all you could accomplish. And what a privilege even to be alive. In spite of all the pollutions and horrors, how beautiful this world is.
Supposing you only saw the stars once every year. Think what you would think. The wonder of it!"--Tasha Tudor

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For, and a Quick and Delicious Soup.

Every day I would go outside, hoping that one of the chickens would lay an egg. Now they are laying consistently and I find myself with a plethora of eggs! I'm not complaining, though :) Does anybody have a few good egg recipes? I have a bread recipe that uses a dozen eggs (truly, it does) so I may have to dig that one out.

I have to say I am amazed at what lovely eggs they are blessing us with. This is a rather large stoneware bowl. It is the old Mayflower Corgi Club pottery pasta bowl. I'd say the eggs would be sized as 'large.' It seems like it took such a long, long time for them to start laying. Has anyone else ever had hens that didn't lay until they were almost a year old? I understand they should have started when they were about 6 mos. old for this breed, the Silver Laced Wyandottes. Oh well, late bloomers I guess. Maybe just the long dark Winter.

I love a good home made soup, especially chicken soup. Some people call chicken soup with little meatballs Italian Wedding Soup. We just call it chicken soup around here since the little meatballs are a given. There is mutiny amongst the ranks when I don't include them. There are nights when I feel like having soup but just don't want to spend hours cooking stock and taking chicken off of the bones. I still want something healthy, delicious and nutritious to feed my family, however. Here is my quick and lighter chicken soup recipe. It needs a name. Since it is quick and easy and usually made on the spur of the moment, How about Cathy's Italian Elopement Soup or maybe Cathy's Shotgun Wedding Soup? :) It is quick because I use store bought stock or your own stock you have in the freezer, boneless chicken breasts, dried herbs and spices from the pantry and you don't cook the pasta separately. The most time consuming part is making the little meatballs.

  • 1 large can (48 oz) of College Inn Light & Fat Free 50% less sodium Chicken Broth

  • approximately 1 pound of boneless chicken breasts, either thin sliced or split are fine, cut into bite sized pieces. (*hint: do you have a kitchen scissors? After washing the chicken, you can use your scissors to cut it into small pieces quickly and right over the pot! These scissors should be washed thoroughly before and after use and only used for cooking)

  • 1 pound of fresh carrots, peeled, rinsed and cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 5 or 6 ribs of celery, washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Include some of the tender light green ones from the center, including the light tender leaves.

  • 2 medium or 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pound of the leanest ground beef
  • 1/2 cup of flavored or seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated romano or parmesan cheese (better cheese makes better meatballs) and more for topping the soup later.
  • 1 fresh egg
  • milk (you can substitute water)
  • one 8 oz. can tomato sauce

  • Spices and seasonings: dried basil, dried oregano, dried parsley flakes, garlic powder, sea salt and ground black pepper

  • 12 oz. small egg bow-ties pasta

  • fresh cold water

Put chopped carrots, celery, and onion in a large soup pot. Add enough water to cover veggies with about 4 inches extra. Cover the pot. Bring to a boil on high flame and then lower the flame to a low-medium boil. Keep the lid slightly ajar so you don't boil over. While the veggies are gently cooking, get started on your meatballs.

Miniature soup meatballs: You will need a medium saucepan and a colander. In a bowl, combine one fresh egg, breadcrumbs, grated cheese (I sometimes add more cheese than 1/2 cup, but do what you like!) about 1 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes, a pinch of dried basil, oregano, salt (if desired) and black pepper with about 1/8 cup of milk. Mix well and add the ground beef. Mix with a spoon and then continue mixing with very clean hands. Form the mixture into little bite sized meatballs. Put them into the medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until done, approximately 10 minutes. They will turn a dark greyish color. Check to make sure there is no pink left inside. Drain them in a colander and rinse with clear fresh water. Sounds crazy, but the rinsing really removes the fat. Drain.

After about 10 minutes (it will take longer than this to do your meatballs so keep an eye on the veggies.) Add your chicken broth, tomato sauce, chicken, about a tablespoon each of dried basil, oregano and parsley flakes, about 2 teaspoons of garlic powder and a good pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper. We want to cook the chicken here. Check it in about 20 minutes or so. Keep the soup pot on a very low simmer while you are finishing up your meatballs. *Variation note: if you have it on hand, and if you like it, you can add a few handfuls of chopped fresh escarole here. Once the meatballs are cooked, rinsed and drained, add them to the soup. Continue simmering for about 10-15 minutes. The soup should look a bit 'watery' at this point but will come together after you add the pasta. If you think you've boiled out too much liquid, you can always add a bit more water and a chicken boullion cube or a small can of chicken broth if you have it, but as long as there is enough liquid to cook your pasta, I would leave it alone. This is a hearty soup.

Raise the flame to create a good medium boil and add the box of tiny egg bows. Cook for about 7 minutes and turn off the flame. The soup is ready! Serve with freshly grated cheese and some fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste.
Do ahead tip: You can chop all of your veggies and make your meatballs in the morning, and refrigerate them until you start your soup for dinner. As I said, the meatballs take the most time, but they are so worth it!

Give it a try. Bonus? It is even better the next day and freezes well. Let me know how it goes over at your house. -CS ^..^


ClassyChassy said...

I was looking for a soup recipe like this for quite a while now - I had it before, and remembered the meatballs, which was unusual in a soup - but could not remember the name of it! This is IT! Thanks - I printed it off!!!

Karen Dimaio said...

Wow! my hubby, who as you can tell from my last name is Italian, is going to love this soup. Up til now he had to deal with eating canned Italian wedding soup. Well that's what happens when you marry a mostly English and German girl.
Thanks for the great recipe! Oh Kailyn and I start conformation training class tonight. It should be fun!

Chatty Crone said...

Well, I'm thinking about all those beautiful large eggs. How long do they last?

dana said...

Wow! I didn't realize you had hens! How cool is that! Martha would be real proud of you---the eggs look awesome!

Speaking of awesome----that soup recipe sounds awesome, too! LOVE the names you gave it!! I've never tried meatballs in chicken soup, but I will!! I've just copied your recipe--thanks! Dana :)

Marqueta (Mar-kee-ta) G. said...

Dear Cathy,

Oh, how busy you've been! What great posts on Corgi grooming (We'll have to bookmark them for when we move and get our own Corgi). And the shelves your daughter painted are just my shade of blue! Heavenly!

As for the egg situation, we had the same thing here, but just gave away the excess, and our neighbors thought we were wonderful.



Ivy@PaperElixir said...

I'm totally making that soup once my maternity leave starts ;)

Dances with Corgis said...

"shotgun wedding soup" has SUCH a great ring to it! So I vote "Cathy's Shotgun Wedding Soup."

Also, how serendipitous, as I was planning on making soup tomorrow. I may try a version of this, sub-ing whatever veggies we have on hand.

Finally, re: eggs, here is the best egg recipe I've got:
They come out truly incredible, particularly if you like tomatoes and basil flavorings. Absolutely recommend!
Also, how about hard boiling a bunch of the eggs and keeping them on hand for healthy snack? Much better than reaching for the cookies...

ps- great tip on the frozen soup idea. I'm huge on freezing soup into individual sized portions and then heat and eat!

Linda said...

Mark will love this recipe,meatballs in chicken soup, he'll think hes in heaven. Lindax

Anonymous said...

Hi Cat! Long time no hear!
I just made a fritata last night with a dozen eggs. We called it swamp bottom pie. Grease a 9 x 13, whip a dozen eggs and pour into the pan. Mix in any veggies you want and browned sausage, if you wish. Add shredded cheese, a little salt and pepper and whatever seasonings you please. Pour that into the egg mixture and stir gently. I baked mine about 30 minutes at 350 and then turned it up to 425 the last 15.
Mine was made with asparagrus from the garden, nettles and wild morel mushrooms, hence the swamp bottom pie name. Nettles are very delicious and nutricious, but do handle with gloves on. Rinse and drop in boiling water like spinach.

Bumpkin Hill said...

your chickens are doing well :) that soup looks delicious too. Hugs, Catherine

Sharon said...

Here is a recipe to help use up some eggs.

Dutch Babies

¼ cup butter
5 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour

Put butter in a 9-10-inch glass pie plate (or cast iron skillet) and set in a 425-degree oven to melt. While butter is melting, whip the eggs. Slowly blend in milk and flour. Remove baking dish from the oven and brush butter around sides of pie plate. Pour the batter into the hot, melted butter. Return to heated 425 oven and bake until puffed & browned, 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately with fresh berries and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with sausage, bacon, or Canadian bacon.

I have also read that you can freeze eggs for future use. Brush oil in an icecube tray, beat each egg and pour in tray. Freeze and store in a a ziploc bag or container until ready to use. Of course depending on the size of the ice cube tray will depend how many eggs are in each cube. Worth a shot if you have an over abundance :) I say it's a blessing :)

Have a great weekend!