I used to love the Italian meatball soup from Pret. I was always excited on a work day when I searched the Pret soups to see what was on the menu for that day and found it was a meatball soup day. I was fully aware that the meatballs had breadcrumbs in them but they were just so tasty! But then, I do love a good meatball…
I’m not really sure why I had never tried recreating it at home. Probably because I think CHILLI! whenever I get some mince beef in. Anyway, I really fancied a tomatoey and chunky soup, and I had some mince beef to use up, and so this recipe was born. It’s not particularly revolutionary and it’s very straightforward but it’s a lovely recipe to have up your sleeve. I like to have a big pot of soup cooked once a week as it’s a really good breakfast and excellent lunch standby. Plus you get that all-important bone broth in!
Ingredients. Serves 4.
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 3 celery sticks, finely diced
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 tsp. tomato paste
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- ¾ litre chicken or beef stock
- 450g minced beef
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried mixed herbs
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- Chopped parsley
Method. Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 40–50 minutes
- Heat up the olive oil in a large saucepan and when hot add the carrots, celery and onions. Fry gently until onions are translucent and the vegetables are soft. Add the tomato paste, scrape everything together and cook for another minute or two. Add the tin of tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
- While the vegetables are cooking, place all the meatball ingredients except the oil in a large bowl and scrunch together to mix well.
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Using wet hands roll teaspoon-size balls of the meat mixture and place them in the frying pan, allowing a little space between each one. Once you have filled your frying pan, turn them over to brown on the other side then drop them into the saucepan with the vegetables. Repeat if you have more meatball mixture.
- Pour the stock into the saucepan, stir gently to mix well. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and allow to cook for about 30–40 minutes.
- Serve in warmed bowls with a sprinkle of chopped parsley.