Good Morning Everyone! Happy Thanksgiving. Since I’ve already shared my Thanksgiving recipes for a small gathering, I thought I’d share something non-Thanksgiving for those who aren’t celebrating this American Holiday.
Don’t you just love it when your slow-cooker does all the work? This soup evolved as it was cooked. Originally, the recipe called for NO seasonings beyond using Italian Seasoned Diced Tomatoes. While I keep diced tomatoes in my pantry, generally speaking the cans are neutral and I add seasonings as needed.
The first alteration was to use unseasoned tomatoes, and to add Italian seasoning to the pot. The second change was to start the slow cooker on HIGH for about an hour. I worried about the slow cook with partial frozen meatballs – yeah I forgot to take them out the night before. Starting on HIGH was a good way to jump start the meatballs. After all, when you use frozen meatballs for spaghetti, you don’t thaw first, you just start cooking in the sauce.
After an hour, I decided to give the soup a taste. I’m sorry, but it was boring. No zip, no wow, just flat. I knew for my guys this simply would not due. More garlic, more onion and a little heat was needed. Plus, everything tastes better with a little salt and pepper, so these were added. Stir, taste again and I knew with a long simmer, it was going to be good. Flavors would deepen and develop. That little kick on the back end from the pepper flakes would be a surprise. Yeah, good stuff.
There was just one more tiny change needed. The original recipe did not have a good bean to meatball ratio. Hum, as luck would have it, I just happened to have some whole black beans in a container in the refrigerator. I had made another dish earlier in the week that only needed a half-cup of the beans. The other half was waiting for something new. And this soup was the perfect way to utilize the black beans. Yeah, things were coming along nicely.
The end result was a wonderful soup perfect for the fall. Filling, satisfying and oh so good. Enjoy!
Italian Meatball Soup
1 (16 oz) bag frozen Italian Meatballs
4 Garlic Cloves
1 (19 oz) can Cannellini Beans, drained
1 (14.5 oz) can Diced Tomatoes
1/2 cup Whole Black Beans
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
3 cups Beef Stock
2/3 cup Water
1 teaspoon Roasted Garlic Powder
1 tablespoon Minced Dried Onion
Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Parmesan Cheese garnish
Thaw meatballs in the refrigerator overnight. (Don’t worry if you forget – just let them sit on the counter for about 20 minutes, and move on. You’ll be fine.)
Spray 3- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Set aside. Peel and mince garlic, set aside.
Drain beans, place in the bowl of the slow cooker. Add tomatoes, fresh minced garlic, beef stock and water. Stir to blend. Add meatballs. Cover; cook on HIGH for 1 hour.
Stir, taste and adjust seasoning with Roasted Garlic Powder, Dried Minced Onions, Red Pepper Flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. Cover, reduce setting to LOW, continue to slow-cook for about 6 hours longer.
Ladle soup into bowl, garnish with Parmesan Cheese. Serve with warm sourdough bread if desired and enjoy!