BARLEY-LEEK SOUP WITH MINI CHICKEN MEATBALLS
This is a great soup to make with kids, who will have fun forming the meatballs and love eating the end result. The meatballs are also delicious served with pasta or couscous. The meatballs can be made ahead and frozen.
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. olive oil
3 leeks, white and pale green parts, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lb. (250 g) cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) dry white wine
2 cups (12 oz./375 g) pearl barley
8 cups (64 fl. oz./2 l) chicken broth, plus more as needed
For the meatballs
1 lb. (500 g) ground chicken
1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) plain dry bread crumbs
2 Tbs. minced flat-leaf parsley, plus 1/2 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) chopped parsley for garnish
1 Tbs. tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the oil. 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, stir to combine and cook for 4 minutes. Add the barley and 8 cups broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the barley is tender, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the meatballs, preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). Oil a baking sheet.
In a bowl, combine the chicken, Parmesan, bread crumbs, the 2 Tbs. parsley and the tomato paste. Add 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and stir to combine. The mixture will be very sticky. To form the meatballs, use two small spoons to scoop up the mixture and transfer it to the prepared sheet. Bake until the
meatballs are cooked through and no longer pink in the center, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the meatballs to the soup and stir in gently. If the soup is too thick, add more broth and heat through. Season with salt and pepper and serve, garnished with the 1/2 cup parsley. Serves 8 to 10.