This soup is perfect if you feel a cold or flu coming on. It’ll warm your soul! Starting with a beautiful broth that is perfumed with a Parmesan rind and loaded with vegetables, it can only be topped with the most amazing meatball that is tinged with just the right amount of spice. Piri piri is a seasoning blend that is Portuguese, usually containing, garlic, chili, paprika, salt and others, it gives just the right amount of punch to these meatballs. There is different kind of heats to piri piri, I had a medium one on hand so feel free to adjust to your taste. If you do not have any, see below the ingredient list for a replacement suggestion.
Whenever I buy Parmesan, I always keep the rind when I’m done with it and dump it in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer. This lends so much body and taste to the soup, it’s umami flavor at it’s best! Your soups will forever be changed once you try this. If you are a lover of mushrooms, this soup would welcome them with open arms, just add them at the same time as the other vegetables.
The meatball recipe makes 24 huge meatballs and so you can freeze ahead and just warm up in a quick marinara sauce when you’ll be in need of a quick dinner or make some amazing sub sandwiches by cutting them in half.
For the meatballs, preheat the oven to 425°F. Combine all of the ingredients, except the pork in a big bowl and wait 2 minutes until the Panko has absorbed the buttermilk. Add the pork and mix through with your hands lightly until the Panko is spread evenly throughout the pork. Make 24 big meatballs and place them on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. (I have a baking sheet that is huge so if needed, use two and rotate in the oven halfway through.) Drizzle them with a little olive oil and cook the meatballs for 30 minutes until cooked through and a thermometer indicates 160°F. Keeping the meatballs in the oven, and bring the heat up on broil for a few minutes, until they get a beautiful golden coloration. Reserve until needed.
For the soup, in a big pot, on medium to high heat, sauté the vegetables with the salt and pepper in 1 tbsp of olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the stock, water and Parmesan rind and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Add the pasta and let warm through. Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan, a beautiful meatball and fresh herbs.
For the meatballs (makes 24 gigantic meatballs)
- about 2.5 kg of extra lean ground pork
- 1 cup of panko
- 1/2 cup of buttermilk or regular milk
- 2 tbsp of dried flaked onions
- 1 tbsp to 2 tbsp of piri piri
- 1 tbsp of salt
- 1 tbsp of ground coriander
- 1 of ground fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
For the soup:
- 900 ml of unsalted chicken stock
- 900 ml of water
- 1 big spanish onion or 2 medium
- 1 cup of sliced leeks
- 2 zucchinis diced
- 3 to 4 baby bok choy sliced
- 1 cup of small pasta precooked any kind will do such as orzo, ditalini or pastina
- 1 rind of Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 to 2 tbsp of salt
- 1 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
- Fresh herbs (such as dill, cilantro and/or chives)
- Fresh grated Parmesan
To replace the piri piri seasoning blend:
- 1/2 tsp each of garlic powder, chili powder, paprika
- a pinch or cayenne pepper to taste