Sunday, October 20, 2013

Chicken Meatball Minestrone

1 cup ground chicken
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
6 + TBSP finely grated Parmesan
4 garlic cloves - 2 minced, 2 thinly sliced
2 TBSP chopped fresh chives
1 large egg - whisked
salt and pepper
2 TBSP olive oil
1 leek - white and pale green parts sliced into 1/4" rounds
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup pasta of choice
1 cup peeled carrots - cut into 1/2" rounds
1 cup packed baby spinach

Mix together chicken, breadcrumbs, 3 TBSP parmesan, 2 minced garlic cloves, chives, egg, salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp each). Refrigerate 20-30 minutes for easy handling; shape into 1/2" meatballs and set aside.

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Cook meatballs in batches until golden on all sides and mostly firm  (they will finish cooking in soup. Transfer to a plate.

Add leek to pot and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves; cook for 1 minute. Add broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Stir in pasta and carrots; simmer until pasta is almost al dente. Add meatballs; simmer until pasta is al dente and carrots are tender. Cut open a meatball to ensure they are cooked through. Add spinach and remaining 3 TBSP Parmesan; stir until spinach is wilted and Parmesan is melted.
Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with Parmesan.

**Allergy-free Substitutions
Bread crumbs - Ener-G gluten free breadcrumbs or homemade breadcrumbs
Egg - 1 TBSP ground chia or flax seed mixed with 1/4 cup dairy free milk
Pasta - gluten free pasta of choice