I’ve always loved the Italian soup, Minestrone. The word itself means “thick soup.” I like it as an appetizer when it’s the traditional vegetable soup. But if I want it for a full meal, I like to add little meat balls to it which makes it heartier. So I created Meat Lovers Minestrone. It’s made with ground chuck and all the vegetables contained in a traditional Minestrone.
We don’t just wait for winter to eat soup, because it’s nutritional and so easy to make with a slow cooker and my kitchen doesn’t heat up that way. I serve this soup with a warm, crusty Artisan bread. I follow the meal with a luscious dessert like my old-fashioned chocolate cake, or if I haven’t baked that day, I may substitute some fresh fruit or melon to finish.
When I’m serving my family or a large group of people, I bring a steaming tureen of soup to the table and allow everyone to serve themselves. I serve warm bread so I use a bread basket with a warming stone to keep it that way during the meal. My soup bowls are a basic white, so that the colors of the soup show up well. Part of the enjoyable experience of eating are the ways we set the table, and the colors we see. Minestrone is a colorful soup with all the vegetables and beans and needs no other adornment.
- 1 pound ground chuck
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons ground oregano, divided
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
- 1 can stewed tomatoes, un-drained, chopped
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 cup diced onion
- 2 zucchini, cut lengthwise into quarters, then slice quarters crosswise.
- 2 carrots, coin slices
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 cans chicken broth
- 1 can kidney beans, un-drained
- 1 can garbanzo beans, un-drained
- 1 can cut green beans, un-drained
- 3 cups water (may need more or less)
- 15 spaghetti strands, broken in 1-inch pieces OR 25 angel hair strands, broken in 1-inch pieces.
- Mix ground chuck with 1 Tablespoon oregano, 1 teaspoon garlic, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt.
- Mix well so oregano, garlic and salt are distributed evenly.
- With a melon baller make small bite-sized meat balls.
- Place small meat balls on tin foil until all meat has been used.
- Chop the stewed tomatoes and put them in a large pot.
- Pour in one can of chicken broth, 1 can tomato sauce and 1 cup of water in same pot.
- Turn burner to high; when mixture begins to boil put meat balls into boiling liquid.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes; with a slotted spoon remove meat balls from liquid and set aside.
- Stir in remaining oregano and garlic to same pot.
- Put onion, zucchini, celery and carrots into same pot, add water if necessary, cook until vegetables are tender.
- Carrots will take a bit longer than the other vegetables, so test before continuing on to next step.
- Pour in remaining can of chicken broth, kidney beans, garbanzo beans and green beans to the pot, bring to boil.
- Replace meat balls into same pot with vegetables and liquid.
- Add more water if necessary.
- Bring to boil, drop spaghetti pieces into boiling liquid. Boil for 10 minutes for spaghetti, 7 minutes for angel hair.
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