1Saute shallot in a small amount of olive oil to soften (not brown), add garlic and saute a minute or two longer. Let cool in pan.
2Soften bread with milk, remove any hard crust and break up with fork.
3With a fork, mix together cooled shallot/onion mixture, softened bread, chopped herbs, salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. Mix egg with fork and add to mixture.
4Crumble pork ground on top of egg/shallot/break/herb mixture, and mix in with hands until just mixed. Form into about 18 small golf ball size meatballs and place on plate. let meatballs rest in fridge for about 20 minutes.
5Bring broth to simmer in a large diameter saute pan with tight-fitting lit (I use a straight sided 3 qt pan, about 9 or 10 inches in diameter). Add meatballs in single layer, separated, and bring to low simmer while covered.
6After 5-10 minutes, flip meatballs with two spoons. Continue a very low simmer (covered) another 10-15 minutes.
7Move meatballs to the perimeter of pan, and add orzo pasta and cabbage. cover and return to low simmer for 15 minutes.
8Meanwhile, crisp outside of red pepper on gas burner until blackened all around. You will need tongs- keep turning it until the entire pepper is blackened, the put in paper bag and close top for 10 minutes or so.
9After pepper has sweated for 10 minutes, remove from bag and remove blackened skin. You can do this with your fingertips, and you can also clean the peppers under running water. Half pepper, remove core/seeds, and cut in half. Cut into strips that will fit on your spoon.
10Mix red pepper into pan with meatball, orzo, and vegetables. All should be cooked by now, so just simmer together for a minute or two.
11Serve soup in wide shallow bowel with a dollop of sour cream in middle (optional) and a garnish of Hungarian paprika on top.
This easy lentil soup is healthy, filling, and delicious. It happens to be vegetarian, too, and is packed not only with tender yet toothsome lentils, but carrot, celery, onion, spinach, and tomato. A little bay leaf, fresh thyme, and a splash of red wine or sherry vinegar perks everything up. Perfect with a loaf of good, crusty bread! Read more.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Softened vegetables, including onions and bell peppers, amped up with spices like chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne, form the base of this tortilla soup. Chicken broth and tomatoes are added, along with soft corn tortillas that meld into the liquid to make a hearty, thick meal. Finally, shredded chicken is stirred in, and everything is garnished with crunchy tortilla strips, sour cream, shredded cheese, and scallions (avocados, pickled jalapeños, and cilantro would all work too). Read more.
Basic Vegetable Soup
This soup is an equally wonderful way to use up all the leftover veggie odds and ends in your fridge, or to celebrate the freshest produce in season by buying it specifically for the dish (and if you get a CSA box, it can serve both purposes). Whatever vegetables you use, this is an easy, nutritious, and delicious meal, and endlessly customizable. Fresh pesto makes a great, vibrant garnish, but you could also simply sprinkle on a bit of grated Parmesan and cracked black pepper. Read more.
Classic Tomato Soup
This comforting tomato soup is super easy and super delicious. Canned San Marzano tomatoes marry with soft, sautéed onions and garlic, a pinch of red pepper, and chicken broth to create a soothing, savory bowl. Finished with a bit of cream, this is begging for a grilled cheese sandwich on the side. But really, it tastes great with lots of things, as well as on its own (though a basil and Parmesan garnish doesn't hurt). Read more.