Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Turkey Meatball Soup

If my Mom is reading this, she must be thinking how ironic it is for me to be posting something like meatball soup.  After all, at the age of 13, I announced I was a vegetarian.  I made this decision after catching a special on t.v. about cattle and chicken raised for slaughter.  It was graphic enough to have converted even the most meat loving man into a vegetable and tofu lover.  I'll admit it though, I fell off the veggie wagon my very first day.  Yep, it's true.  I couldn't last one day.  A friend brought me lunch that day and had picked up hamburgers.  They just smelled so good.  One more day couldn't hurt, could it?  Apparently not.  After that day, I stayed true to this cause for twelve years before deciding it was time for some protein in my diet again.  I now call myself a "recovering" vegetarian, and I couldn't be happier with this decision.  Don't get me wrong, that t.v. special is still vivid in my memory, but maybe time has lightened some of the more disturbing parts?  I can now eat chicken, turkey, a little pork, and fish.  Red meat still hasn't made it past my lips, but I'm okay with that.  Eating some meat has certainly made my life easier.  I get fewer weird looks, rolling eyes, and hippie comments.  There's more than one or two choices on restaurant menus.  And, no one feels like they need to make me anything special when I go to their house for dinner.  Oh, and, my husband no longer makes the "wasting away" comments he used to make when I was cooking only vegetarian!    

This recipe is from Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious.  I skipped the sweet potato puree, but otherwise I followed it pretty exactly.  Staying true to my vegetarian roots, I think you could probably make this with ground soy protein, if you so desire.  The ground turkey was great though!  Also, the recipe says it serves 10, but those would be some pretty small servings!  I'd say this serves six or seven as a meal.

3 ounces whole wheat pasta shapes
Nonstick cooking spray
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (28 ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with the juice
1/4 Cup carrot puree (cooked carrots blended with a little cooking water)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 Cups reduced sodium chicken or beef broth
3 slices whole wheat bread, cubed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 Cup sweet potato puree (optional, I skipped it)
1/4 Cup non-fat milk
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 Teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 pound ground turkey

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until tender.  Drain and set aside.

Coat a large pot with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat.  When pot is hot, add oil, onion, and garlic.  Cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 4-5 minutes. 

Puree the tomatoes and their juice with the carrot puree in a food processor, then add to the pot along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Add the broth, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes.  

Meanwhile, put the bread in a large bowl.  Add the egg, sweet potato puree, milk, parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and paprika, and let soak until the bread is very soft.  Stir to break up the bread, add turkey, and mix until smooth.  Form into mini meatballs 1/2-inch in diameter.

Add meatballs to the pot.  Simmer, covered, until the meatballs are no longer pink inside, 12-15 minutes.  Stir in the pasta.  Serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese and some cracked pepper. 


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