Beef is expensive in Singapore. Like, really expensive. In Canberra we would eat a few meals a week with a beef mince base, but it’s too expensive to do that here. We always ate a lot of chicken breast and thigh but now we are also eating more pork then we used to and have added chicken mince to our usual choices of chicken cuts.
I had some home made chicken stock in the freezer from when I made chicken rice, but I’m not going to lie, this is rare for me and I would normally just rely on a packaged salt reduced stock. I like the Campbell’s Real Stock, which I can also get here.
Combine your meatball ingredients in a big bowl. Notice the green and gold and get a pang of homesickness.
Shape your mince into small meatballs. Add a little water to your mince to help them stick together if needed. If you are like me, indulge in some light OCD and try and get an even number.
The meatballs do the majority of their cooking by poaching in the stock. This keeps them really moist.
I used a thin spaghetti for my pasta component as that’s what I had in the cupboard but a small soup pasta like risoni would be great as well. I broke the spaghetti into thirds and only added a small amount as I was trying to keep this low carb. By all means, add more if you would like.
I’ve got to get used to writing down notes and quantities as I cook so I can write up recipes for you.
The hot stock will cook the egg and create a ribbon effect.
Chicken Meatball Soup with Spinach and Egg Ribbons
Ingredients – serves 4
- 2 tbs panko crumbs or standard bread crumbs
- 1 tbs chinese chives, chopped finely. Alternatively, use standard chives
- 1 tbs finely chopped parsley
- zest and juice of 1 small lemon. Divide the lemon juice into 2 separate portions.
- 250g chicken mince
- 1 small red onion, chopped finely
- 1 garlic clove, chopped finely
- 4 cups of chicken stock
- 50g thin spaghetti or a pasta of your choice
- 50g baby spinach, chopped roughly
- 1 egg
- 1 tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Extra parsley leaves and grated Parmesan for garnish
- In a large bowl, combine the crumbs, chives, parsley and lemon zest with the chicken mince. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Form the mix into small meatballs. The mix should be quite sticky but still hold together in a ball. If the mix is a bit dry add 1 tsp of water to help bind.
- Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large saucepan or enamel casserole pot and then lightly brown the meatballs.
- Remove the meatballs from the pan and set aside. Add the onion and garlic to the same pot and cook on a low heat till transparent.
- Deglaze the pan by pouring in half of the lemon juice. Scrape up any brown bits stuck to the pan with a spoon or spatula. Add your stock and bring to a slow simmer.
- Once the stock is simmering, add the meatballs and the pasta back into the pot and continue to simmer till the pasta is cooked.
- Once the pasta is cooked, add the spinach and simmer for another minute or so until it’s completely wilted. The meatballs should be well and truly cooked by now, but if in doubt, take one out and cut it in half to check.
- Once meatballs are cooked through and the spinach is wilted, turn off the heat. In a small bowl lightly whisk the egg, Parmesan and the other half of the lemon juice. Add some freshly cracked pepper.
- Slowly pour this egg mixture into the soup while stirring. Although the heat is now off, the hot stock will cook the egg and will create a ribbon effect as you stir.
- Taste and season with more salt if needed but remember the Parmesan will be quite salty. Serve in a bowl, pile up those meatballs and garnish with a little bit more freshly grated Parmesan and parsley.