Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Italian Wedding Soup - Light

I have some house guests visiting and I wanted to make two pots of soup, so I needed to think of one that would be a good counterpoint to Potato Leek Soup (a previous post). I decided on Italian Wedding Soup, but chose to use ground Chicken instead of ground Pork or Beef to make it lighter. It's called Wedding Soup, not because it is served at weddings, but because it is a mixture of meat and vegetables that "marries" well. And, there are probably as many different recipes as there are Italian cooks. It is considered an American Italian soup and is served in many restaurants. I have had kinds with different kinds of little Pasta and some with White Beans or Garbanzo Beans, but the main ingredients are always meatballs and some kind of green vegetable - Escarole, Kale or Spinach are the usual ones. Since I love Spinach, I went with that and I used Gluten Free Orzo from DeLallo, which is made from corn and rice flours. This soup has a base of chicken broth with Carrots, Celery, Onions along with the Spinach. It has a delicate flavor and it's beautiful!  To me, that is always a wonderful bonus. If you don't care about being Lactose Free, it is quite wonderful with a sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese.  Since soup season is starting, you should try this soup - it's  also delicious!

Italian Wedding Soup Light

8 cups Chicken Broth (preferably homemade)
2 large Carrots (I used Orange and Yellow), peeled and cut into small pieces
2 large Celery Stalks cut into small pieces
1/2 large onion or 1 small onion cut into a small dice
1/2 cup Orzo
5 ounces of Spinach washed
1 pound ground Chicken (best if it is a mixture of dark and light meat)
2 slices of Gluten Free White Bread (I used Udi's) - crusts removed and cut into tiny pieces/crumbs
1 egg
2 teaspoons dried Basil, divided
2 cloves Garlic, minced fine
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Fresh Pepper
Optional:  Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

In a large pot, put in Chicken Broth, Carrots, Celery and Onion and bring to a boil. Add in the Orzo and cook for 10 minutes on a simmer.

Meanwhile, mix ground Chicken, Bread Crumbs, Egg, Basil, Garlic and Salt in a bowl until well combined.  Wash hands and shape into small meatballs. Heat the Olive Oil in a large frying pan and cook the meatballs until brown on one side. Using a spoon, turn the meatballs over until browned on the other side as well. Then add to the soup and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add in the Spinach and sprinkle with the remaining Basil and Pepper before serving.

Five Element Analysis

This is a soup with plenty of broth so it is a Water Element Dish. However, the Chicken and Chicken Broth contribute the Wood Element and the Celery adds even more. The Earth Element is represented by the Carrots and Corn Flour in the Orzo and the Garlic, Basil and Onion bring in the Metal Element. Only the Fire Element is missing, so this soup would be wonderful served with a Fiery Lettuce and Tomato Salad to achieve a Five Element balance.

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