One of my favorite types of soups to make when I’m short on time are simple meatball soups. All you need are some basic root veggies, some greens, a few herbs and spices and of course, some ground meat and bone broth. It’s amazing how something so simple can be so delicious. In this post I’m going to show you how to make a pork meatball soup but you can tweak in different ways to your liking.
For example, if pork doesn’t float your boat, feel free to use any type of ground meat you want – beef, chicken, turkey, bison, etc. They’ll all work in the recipe below. You can also change up the veggies, herbs and seasonings. The possibilities are endless!
In a mixing bowl, add about a half pound or so of ground pork, a small bunch of chopped cilantro (sub parsley or basil), 1 cup of bread crumbs (or sub gluten-free), 1 egg, 1 teaspoon salt and a half teaspoon of ground black pepper. Mix well with your hands and form into small bite-sized meatballs.
Browning will help lock in and deepen the flavor. Simply heat some olive oil in a skillet (I prefer cast iron) and brown the meatballs, turning frequently for about 3 to 4 minutes. Careful not to overcook the meatballs.
It’s actually better to slightly undercook the meatballs. We’ll be adding them to the hot soup in the final step, where they’ll quickly finish cooking.
Dice 1 yellow onion, 1 peeled carrot, 1 celery stalk and 3-4 cloves garlic. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a medium stock pot or dutch oven and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add about 1 TBSP dried oregano and/or thyme and one bay leaf and saute about another 5 minutes or until the veggies are fragrant and softened.
Add the bone broth, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for a few more minutes. Then add your greens and simmer for a few minutes until wilted. For this recipe I’m using kale. Here’s what a “bunch” of kale looks like:
Basically, a lot. I could’ve added more. It cooks down quite a bit!
Then add the pork meatballs and simmer another minute or two until they’re cooked through.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Your pork meatball soup is now ready for the most important step.
Go crazy with any additional seasonings. But do it in individual serving bowls, not in the main pot. Each person can then adjust things to his/her personal tastes.
Make it spicy and add hot sauce or fresh chiles or chile powder. Make it slightly sour with a dash or two of vinegar. Make it cheesy with some grated parmesan or asiago. Make it herbally with generous toppings of any herbs you want. Add all of these things, some of these things or none of these things.
It’s your pork meatball soup. You’re in charge. Do whatever works for you.
Personally, I love a little spice and sour flavor. I added some fresh serrano chiles and a few squirts of apple cider vinegar. That was perfect for me.
This recipe is a good example of what you can do with some very common ingredients. Some basic root veggies, a few herbs, a few simple spices and some ground pork is all you need to make a delicious and simple pork meatball soup.
Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs (except the olive oil) in a bowl, mix well, and form into small bite-sized meatballs with your hands.
In a cast-iron pan, heat the olive oil and brown the meatballs on all sides and set aside.
In a dutch oven or wide-mouth stock pot, heat the olive oil and add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the oregano and/or thyme and bay leaf and saute about another 5 minutes or until veggies are fragrant and softened.
Add the broth, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for a few more minutes.
Add the kale and pork meatballs and simmer for a few minutes until the kale is wilted and the pork meatballs are cooked through.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle into individual bowls and add optional seasonings, to taste.
Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.