Northern Bean and Meatball Soup


I'm so happy that soup season is here. But truthfully, for me, it has no boundaries. There was a time that a week didn't go by without me preparing a big pot full for my family. I can't say they all embraced it during the sweltering summer months as much as in the chillier seasons. Though as my sons got older and bigger and their appetites increased, my soups seem to be more of a portion of the meal, and I still found myself making what I considered as a second meal. So I started passing my steaming bowls off as after school snacks and my favorite lunches and peace was restored. This bowl is filled with an irresistible combination of small white beans, chicken meatballs, and aromatics such as carrots, fresh, fennel, and onions. After simmering to perfection, fresh baby spinach is stirred in to sweeten the pot as they say. We all agree that this soup is a winner.


Ingredients for Northern Bean and Meatball Soup:


1 pound dried Northern beans


Meatballs:

1 pound Italian chicken sausage

1 pound ground chicken

1 egg

3/4 cup plain panko

1/2 cup grated romano cheese

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning


Soup:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

8 cups chicken broth

1 5 -ounce bag baby spinach

1 1/2 cups diced carrots

1 fresh fennel bulb, cored and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 bay leave

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 tablespoons tomato paste


Time-Saving Tip: Prepare the soup a day in advance but might need to be thinned with additional broth or water.


Let's see what we need.

We're ready to cook.


Rinse the beans and add to a pot; cover with about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until just tender. While the beans are simmering add additional water as needed. Once just tender, drain the beans and set aside.



Combine all of the meatball ingredients together in a small bowl. Shape the mixture into 40 equal-sized meatballs. If the mixture seems soft, refrigerate for an hour and then continue. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven until just cooked and lightly golden.


Add the carrots celery, and fennel in 3 tablespoons of oil; season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Saute for 10 minutes without browning, stir in the garlic and rosemary. Once fragrant add the tomato paste and cook for a minute; stir in the crushed red pepper.


Pour in the broth and bay leaf and simmer until the beans are tender.


Add the meatballs and simmer for 20 minutes; stir the spinach. Adjust seasoning and sprinkle with grated cheese.


It's ready! Northern Bean and Meatball Soup is delicious and comforting. As the beans cook they become creamy and delicious and the simmering meatballs flavor the soup. This soup is perfect for a chilly day.


Enjoy!


Northern Bean and Meatball Soup:


1 pound dried Northern beans


Meatballs:

1 pound Italian chicken sausage

1 pound ground chicken

1 egg

3/4 cup plain panko

1/2 grated romano cheese

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning


Soup:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

8 cups chicken broth

1 5 -ounce bag baby spinach

1 1/2 cups diced carrots

1 fresh fennel bulb, cored and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Rinse the beans and add to a pot; cover with about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until just tender. While the beans are simmering add additional water as needed. Once just tender, drain the beans and set aside.

Combine all of the meatball ingredients together in a small bowl. Shape the mixture into 40 equal-sized meatballs. If the mixture seems soft, refrigerate for an hour and then continue. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven until just cooked and lightly golden.

Add the carrots celery, and fennel in 3 tablespoons of oil; season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Saute for 10 minutes without browning, stir in the garlic and rosemary. Once fragrant add the tomato paste and cook for a minute; stir in the crushed red pepper.

Pour in the broth and bay leaf and simmer until the beans are tender.

Add the meatballs and simmer for 20 minutes; stir the spinach. Adjust seasoning and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Time-Saving Tip: Prepare the soup a day in advance but might need to be thinned with additional broth or water.

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