While most of you around the country are getting hammered by snow, we are in the middle of MORE rain in Los Angeles. So what do we Angelenos (did I really just call myself that?) do when it is raining? Hide out inside. What do I do when I am stuck inside? Cook
Nothing says rainy day more to me than a simmering bowl of soup. I originally saw the basis of this recipe on Ronda Carman's blog All The Best a few weeks ago. She features a wonderful soup recipe every Sunday which I always look forward to trying out.
As usual, I made a few changes and made the recipe my own. (I have a problem with not following recipes exactly, maybe that is the old caterer coming out again). This is the perfect soup to serve as a complete meal - hence very easy to serve when entertaining after a play date or for watching new episodes of LOST because you only have to clean up the soup bowl and spoons.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 leeks (green parts removed, cut in 1/2 lengthwise and chopped into 1/2 inch slices)
1 yellow onion
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 packages cremini mushrooms sliced, or mini portobello
1 tsp brown sugar
8 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 package (1 lb) pre-cooked gourmet chicken meatballs (from Trader Joes, or in the prepared section of Whole Foods or Central Market-photo of the TJ's package below)
1/2 cup freshly shaved parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish)
8 large basil leaves chopped
2 cups fresh baby spinach (in the salad section)
1 package fresh cheese tortellini
1/3 cup chopped italian parsley (the flat kind)
In a large pot (enough to hold 12 cups of liquid), heat oil & butter on low heat. Add the chopped leeks and saute on low for about 7 minutes until tender. Add onions and garlic and saute 4 minutes until translucent. Add the mushrooms and the brown sugar and saute for 1-2 minutes.
Add chicken stock, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Once mixed together add the cooked chicken meatballs. (If you can't find any pre-cooked post a comment for a recipe or e-mail me and I'll send you one, the pre-made are just easier for making a quick soup.) Bring the soup mixture to a low boil.
Once boiling, stir in the 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, basil, spinach and tortellini. Cook for 6-8 minutes until the tortellini is cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I always like it salty). Serve in soup bowls with baked crostini (if you don't know what crostini is, shoot me an e-mail) and top with generous amounts of parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Viola! Dinner is served!