Two Soup Sunday: French Lentil and Turkey Meatball with Orzo and Greens

In a strangely ambitious state for a Sunday morning, I whipped together these two soups that will help us through the week's meals. We love having a pot of soup in the fridge to fall back on as a light dinner with a salad or as part of lunch. The French Lentil soup here is gluten free and vegan, and the "French" part of it refers to the small green/gray lentils called Le Puy lentils. You definitely want these and not red, yellow or brown lentils. These have wonderful flavor and they will retain their shape after cooking, unlike other varieties. Both of these recipes are adapted from Epicurious. I got so caught up in cooking that I didn't remember to pull out the camera until the first soup was done, so the only photo of the Turkey Meatball soup is the finished product. I hope you'll enjoy making one or both of these soups! 

TURKEY MEATBALL SOUP WITH ORZO AND GREENS

Ingredients - For the meatballs

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup plain, dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 pound organic ground turkey breast
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Whisk the egg and water in a medium bowl to blend. Mix in breadcrumbs; let stand 5 minutes. Add turkey, cheese, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper; stir to blend. Using wet hands, shape turkey mixture into small meatballs (about 1.25" diameter). Place on baking sheet; cover and chill 30 minutes. (FYI, my meatball yield was 34. They could have been a little smaller and I probably would have gotten 40 out of the recipe.)

Ingredients--for the soup

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano 
  • 8 cups low salt or unsalted chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup orzo (rice shaped pasta)
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped greens--for this batch I used escarole. You could use kale, spinach, or your choice of other leafy green

Heat oil in a 8-quart soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrots and saute about 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and oregano, and stir thoroughly, cooking another minute or two. Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the chilled turkey meatballs, turn the heat down slightly and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Add orzo and 4 cups of water; bring back to a boil, then reduce heat again and cook for 12-15 minutes, until orzo is done. Turn heat off and stir in the greens, and cover the pot. It's ready to serve when the greens are wilted. 

FRENCH LENTIL SOUP

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups French lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
  • Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Heat oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, carrots and garlic; saute until vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add 4 cups of stock, lentils and tomatoes with juice, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 35-40 minutes. 

Transfer 2 cups of the soup (mostly solids) to blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to soup in pan; thin soup with 2 cups water. Season with salt, pepper, and a splash of vinegar, if desired. 

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