Mini Meatball and Tortellini Soup
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan chees
1 T. Greek oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
12 ounces ground pork, Boston butt
12 ounces ground sirloin
6 cups homemade chicken broth, recipe follows
1 cup mini cheese tortellini
Pinch sea salt
1 cup fresh baby spinach
Handful freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 red onions, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
3 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
Big pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 whole organic chicken, cut in pieces
1 pint organic chicken bones
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup celery leaves
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh tarragon
5 whole black peppercorns
To make the meatballs: In a bowl, combine eggs, Parmesan cheese, Greek oregano, garlic, and Italian seasoned breadcrumbs. Mix together. Add the ground pork and sirloin, mix to incorporate the seasoning. Roll into tiny balls the size of marbles.
To make the soup: Bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a large pot over medium heat. Add half of the mini meatballs and tortellini. Simmer for 8 minutes.
Place a portion of the baby spinach in a soup bowl. Pour the hot soup over the spinach and top with freshly grated Parmesan.
Place the remaining mini meatballs on a baking sheet and bake in a 375 degree oven to 20 minutes, or until done. Save for another meal. They make a great sandwich or serve over pasta the next day.
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic cloves and saute for 2 minutes, until garlic is golden. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Season the vegetables with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Saute for about 8 minutes.
Cut the organic chicken and chicken bones into pieces. Really hack into it so that the bones and marrow are exposed. Add the chicken pieces and pint of chicken bones to the pot. Fill the pot with water until it just covers all the chicken, and bring to a boil.
Tie the parsley, celery leaves, bay leaf, thyme, and tarragon into a bouquet using butcher's or kitchen twine. Add the bouquet to the pot along with the black peppercorns.
Once the broth has begun to boil, bring the heat down to medium-low. Partially cover, and let the broth simmer for 2 to 3 hours.
Strain the chicken broth through cheesecloth. Hand-pick the good chicken meat and set it aside. Cook's Note: The good chicken meat can be used for chicken soup or another recipe.
Refrigerate the broth overnight. Slip a sharp knife around the edges of solidified chicken fat and discard.