We were generally happy with this soup. I froze half of it (sans pasta) for another time and we still had plenty. The complexity of the broth here is the real selling point. Actual meatballs: not too shabby either. An ATK recipe.
1 fennel bulb
4 garlic cloves
1/4-oz dried porcini mushrooms (I think I ended up using shitakes here because that’s what I had)
4-oz ground pork
4-oz lean ground beef
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
2 cups water
1-1/2 cup ditalini pasta (I subbed orzo)
1 slice hearty white sandwich bread
5 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4-cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 teaspoons finely grated onion
1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
Salt and pepper
6-oz ground pork
1 teaspoon baking powder
6-oz lean ground beef
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
Chop onion, and rinse your dried mushrooms. Peel your garlic cloves and smash them. Discard the fennel stalks, cut the bulb in half, remove the core, and chop the fennel.
Set a Dutch oven over medium-high burner. Add chopped onion, rinsed mushrooms, smashed garlic, chopped fennel, bay leaf, 4-oz of ground beef, 4-oz of ground pork. Saute for 5 minutes until the meat is no longer pink. Add 1/2-cup white wine and 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and continue to cook for 1 minute, before adding water, chicken and beef broth. Bring up to a simmer, then cover, reduce to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove crust from 1 slice of sandwich bread and rip into 1″ pieces. Add to large bowl. Grate 1/2 onion on small holes of a box grater, add 4 teaspoons grated onion to the bowl. Grate 2 garlic gloves, add 1/2 teaspoon grated garlic to the bowl. Add grated Parmesan cheese, heavy cream, and season with ground black pepper. Mash into a paste with a fork.
Add 6-oz ground pork, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon table salt to the bowl of a standing mixer. Use the paddle attachment and beat on high for 2 minutes until the meat becomes smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add beef, oregano and mashed bread. Mix at medium/low speed for 2 minutes to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once. Keep your hands slightly moist, scope a heaping teaspoon of meat into your hands and roll into 35 to 40 smooth meatballs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
When the broth is finished, strain soup through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl. Use a rubber spatula to press on the solids to yield as much soup as possible. Wipe any remaining solids from your Dutch oven and pour the soup back into the pot.
Remove kale stems and cut into 1/2″ pieces. Set your Dutch oven over a medium-high burner and bring up to a simmer. Add the pasta (note: I cooked my pasta separately because I don’t like storing leftover soup with pasta – soaks up all the broth) and kale and cook for 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Add meatballs to pot and bring back up to a simmer. Cook for 3 to 5 more minutes, checking to make sure the meatballs are completely cooked. Adjust salt and pepper according to taste and serve.