Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mushroom, Barley & Leek Soup with Mini Chicken Meatballs's another one :)  I told you I was totally enamored with my new Soup CookBook!  This Mushroom/Barley soup is destined to become another of my go-to-favorites.  It's tasty and very hearty; perfect for a cool fall night; or if you're up North, a cold winter night :)  Do try this one.  This is a great soup to make with kids who will love rolling out the meatballs and they will also love eating the results :)  These meatballs are delicious served with pasta or couscous and marinara sauce or added to virtually any vegetable or grain soup.  And they can be made ahead and frozen.  The recipe is also easily doubled.  So for me, if I'm going to make 30 meatballs, I might as well make 60!

Mushroom, Barley & Leek Soup with Mini Chicken Meatballs

For the soup:
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large or 2 small leeks, white and pale green parts, thoroughly rinsed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, either mince or very thinly sliced; I prefer the latter as it seems to take some of the bite out of the garlic
1/2 lb cremini or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
1 cup pearl barley
4-5 cups chicken broth, plus more as needed

In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter with the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the leeks and garlic and sauté until very soft, about 5 minutes.   Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and wine, store to combine and cook for 4 minutes.  Add the barley and broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the barley is tender, about 45 minutes.  

Meanwhile, make the meatballs. 
1 lb ground chicken breast meat
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp minced flat leaf parsley, plus 1/2 cup chopped parsley for garnish
1 Tbsp tomato paste

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Line a large baking sheet with heavy duty foil and lightly coat with oil.  In a bowl combine the Parmesan, egg, bread crumbs, tomato paste, 2 Tbsp parsley and 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper.  Mix thoroughly.  Then add ground chicken and gently mix to combine.  The mixture will be very sticky.

Gently shape the mixture into small meatballs and transfer to baking sheet.  My own note here:  Be very gentle when forming meatballs (of any kind).  You don't want to "pack them" together.  As you can see here, mine are kind of gnarly shaped, but that's what makes them light, not tough.  Bake until the meatballs are cooked through and no longer pink in the center, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  

Add the meatballs to the soup and stir gently.  If the soup is too thick, add more broth and heat through.  Season with salt and pepper, garnish with the 1/2 cup chopped parsley and serve.  

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as my husband and I do :)
Buon Appetito!


  1. The tip about keeping the meatballs light is a definite "Why didn't I think of that before?" one. That book of yours is certainly turning out to be good value!

  2. Oh, this sounds like one I will make! I always have barley and ground turkey on hand. And thanks for the tip on the meatballs. I would be tempted to make them perfectly smooth and round.

  3. all sounds so hearty and yummy! Have a wonderful Christmas with your family, Diane!