entertaining, food recipes

Recipe :: Turkey Meatball & Cabbage Soup

With spring around the corner, and all the indulgent holidays behind us, it's time to get serious about your health and wellness for 2014. Many of my friends have been dedicated to a juice cleanse, and a lot of you are clean eating, so this week's Cooking for a Crowd is for you!

turkey meatball and cabbage soup // amy pennington for coco+kelley

This is one of my all-time favorite meals - I make this soup whenever I need a little extra TLC. Light and wholesome turkey meatballs are flavored with Asian-inspired ingredients like green onions, cilantro, and sesame oil, then dropped into homemade chicken broth spiked with cooking wine and heaped with cabbage. This soup is the ultimate miracle elixir, promising good health and good eating.

The broth alone is a cold-cure all, so if you're feeling under the weather, start here. From there, fragrant meatballs are browned before adding to the soup. They cook quickly and assure a nourishing meal, for many mouths, in 30 minutes.

turkey meatball and cabbage soup // amy pennington for coco+kelley

Turkey Meatball & Cabbage Soup // serves 4-6

SOUP ingredients :: 

  • ½ pound shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 pound cabbage, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • ¼ cup Chinese cooking wine (like Shaoxing)
  • 5 cups homemade chicken broth
  • 3 whole green onions, roots trimmed and cut in half
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish, optional

MEATBALL ingredients :: 

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

turkey meatball and cabbage soup // amy pennington for coco+kelley

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put the shiitake mushrooms on a sheet pan and drizzle one tablespoon of the olive oil over the top. Using your hands, toss the mushrooms to coat well and place them in the oven to bake. Cook, moving them occasionally, until they are dehydrated and crispy, about 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the oven and set aside.

In a large stockpot, set the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is rippling and the stockpot is hot, add the garlic and cabbage, turning with a wooden spoon to prevent burning. Cook until all the cabbage is wilted and the garlic is beginning to stick to the bottom of the stockpot. Add the Chinese cooking wine to deglaze, scraping up any brown bits, and stir until wine is nearly evaporated. Pour in the chicken broth and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover.

To make the turkey meatballs, put the ground turkey, green onions, cilantro, ginger, sesame oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and use your hands to combine well. Shape the mixture into small meatballs and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, drop in the meatballs and brown (about 2 minutes per side). Carefully place the cooked meatballs in the soup broth. Add the green onions on top and cover, cooking until the meatballs are cooked through and the cabbage is very tender, about 30 minutes. To serve, spoon a portion of the soup into a bowl and garnish with a few roasted mushrooms and a sprinkle of cilantro, if using.

turkey meatball and cabbage soup // amy pennington for coco+kelley

PANTRY NOTE: This soup is even better the second day and can hold covered in the fridge up to five days. Leftovers freeze well and will keep for a month in the freezer.

For more healthy & seasonal recipes like Cabbage Pancakes and Red Cabbage Sauerkraut, you can purchase Amy Pennington’s ebook “Fresh Pantry CABBAGE” for $2.99.