Pork and fennel meatball soup

Recipe by:

With a little preparation, this freezer-friendly pork and fennel meatball soup is perfect for a weeknight dinner

Pork and fennel meatball soup

SERVES

6

PEOPLE

PREP TIME

10

MINUTES

COOKING TIME

50

MINUTES

CUISINE

COURSE

Main

Method

  1. First, make the tomato soup. Place the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the chopped onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, cover with a butter wrapper or a piece of parchment paper, and the saucepan lid, then turn the heat down to low and cook for about 10–12 minutes, until the vegetables are tender, stirring every few minutes to prevent them sticking.

  2. Add the tomatoes and sugar, season with more salt and pepper, and cook over a medium to high heat, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are melted through the sauce. Add the cream and boil for 3 minutes, then take off the heat.

  3. Blend the sauce until completely smooth, then put back into the saucepan and add the stock to thin it out to the required consistency – you may want the soup a bit thicker, in which case just add 400–500ml of stock. Season to taste and set aside.

  4. To make the meatballs, place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saucepan and add the finely chopped onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, then cook over a low heat, covered with a butter wrapper or a piece of parchment paper and the saucepan lid, until the onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Take off the heat, tip the onions into a mixing bowl and allow to cool (see note overleaf).

  5. While the onions are cooling, toast the fennel seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium to high heat. Crush them well, then add to the onions. Add the minced pork and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, then pick off ½ a teaspoonful of the mixture and cook it in a frying pan with a little olive oil and taste to check for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper or ground fennel if necessary, then, when you’re happy with the flavour, shape the meatballs. Make each one about 25g in weight (like a large walnut in its shell) – you should get about 20. Set them aside.

  6. When you’re ready to cook the meatballs, place a large frying pan on a medium heat and add the remaining olive oil and the butter (the butter helps the meatballs to brown really nicely). Once the butter has melted and foamed, add the meatballs and cook, tossing regularly, for about 8–10 minutes, until they are cooked through. Turn the heat down to low once they start to take on a golden hue.

  7. While the meatballs are cooking, cook the spaghetti. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add a good pinch of salt, then add the broken pasta. Stir and allow to cook for 6–8 minutes, until al dente, then drain.

  8. To serve, bring the tomato soup to steaming point and stir in the cooked pasta. Divide among bowls, then top with the meatballs and scatter finely grated Parmesan and chopped parsley over the top.

    'Soup Broth Bread’ by Rachel Allen is published by Michael Joseph and is available in shops and online now.

Ingredients

  • For the soup:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped 1 large celery stalk, chopped (see note)

  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped

  • 2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped

  • salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes, chopped

  • 2 tsp sugar

  • 200ml cream (regular or double)

  • 400–600ml chicken stock

  • 150g spaghetti, broken into little bits

  • For the meatballs:

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed or finely grated

  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and ground

  • 450g minced pork

  • 15g butter

  • To serve:

  • a couple of handfuls of finely grated Parmesan

  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley

Method

  1. First, make the tomato soup. Place the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the chopped onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, cover with a butter wrapper or a piece of parchment paper, and the saucepan lid, then turn the heat down to low and cook for about 10–12 minutes, until the vegetables are tender, stirring every few minutes to prevent them sticking.

  2. Add the tomatoes and sugar, season with more salt and pepper, and cook over a medium to high heat, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are melted through the sauce. Add the cream and boil for 3 minutes, then take off the heat.

  3. Blend the sauce until completely smooth, then put back into the saucepan and add the stock to thin it out to the required consistency – you may want the soup a bit thicker, in which case just add 400–500ml of stock. Season to taste and set aside.

  4. To make the meatballs, place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saucepan and add the finely chopped onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, then cook over a low heat, covered with a butter wrapper or a piece of parchment paper and the saucepan lid, until the onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Take off the heat, tip the onions into a mixing bowl and allow to cool (see note overleaf).

  5. While the onions are cooling, toast the fennel seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium to high heat. Crush them well, then add to the onions. Add the minced pork and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, then pick off ½ a teaspoonful of the mixture and cook it in a frying pan with a little olive oil and taste to check for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper or ground fennel if necessary, then, when you’re happy with the flavour, shape the meatballs. Make each one about 25g in weight (like a large walnut in its shell) – you should get about 20. Set them aside.

  6. When you’re ready to cook the meatballs, place a large frying pan on a medium heat and add the remaining olive oil and the butter (the butter helps the meatballs to brown really nicely). Once the butter has melted and foamed, add the meatballs and cook, tossing regularly, for about 8–10 minutes, until they are cooked through. Turn the heat down to low once they start to take on a golden hue.

  7. While the meatballs are cooking, cook the spaghetti. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add a good pinch of salt, then add the broken pasta. Stir and allow to cook for 6–8 minutes, until al dente, then drain.

  8. To serve, bring the tomato soup to steaming point and stir in the cooked pasta. Divide among bowls, then top with the meatballs and scatter finely grated Parmesan and chopped parsley over the top.

    'Soup Broth Bread’ by Rachel Allen is published by Michael Joseph and is available in shops and online now.

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