It seems like spring just can’t make up its mind this year. Thank goodness for the weather app on my phone, because otherwise I’d have no idea what to wear on any given day – some days it’s warm enough for sandals and bare legs, and then other days it’s back to rainboots and a miserable cold drizzle.
Still, the signs are all around that winter is most definitely on its way out. The daffodils are blooming, the grass is growing and the birdies are chirping.
(Also, the weeds are popping up everywhere… I’m trying to ignore them out of existence, but it’s not working so far.)
I’m more than ready to trade in my snow boots for a pair of flip flops and I’m thrilled not to have to shovel the front walk again, but there are still a few things I’ll miss about winter.
I’ll miss the hush that falls over the city right after it snows, and the way the cats huddle over the heat vents when it gets really cold. Most of all, though, I’ll miss the hearty belly-warming soups that are one of my cold weather mainstays.
This lovely soup is my swan song before I put away the ladle for the next few months. It straddles the two seasons quite neatly… it’s still hearty enough to ward off the lingering winter chill, but it’s full of tender spring vegetables.
Tender bite-sized herbed chicken meatballs seasoned with Gourmet Garden Italian herb stir-in paste seal the deal. With its perfectly balanced combination of basil, oregano, parsley, thyme and rosemary, it’s the lazy girl’s answer to getting a pack of ground chicken from meh to wow.
The combination makes for a fitting goodbye to this most inconsistent of seasons. It’s a little bit winter, a little bit spring, and completely enjoyable nonetheless.
Disclosure: This post is part of a series sponsored by Gourmet Garden. All opinions, as always, are entirely my own.
- 1 lb ground chicken
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp Gourmet Garden Italian herbs stir-in paste
- 1 tsp Gourmet Garden garlic stir-in paste
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small leek, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
- 8 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
- 1 small bunch asparagus, cut into ¾” lengths
- 2 cups sugar snap peas, cut into thirds
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, bread crumbs, Parmesan, egg, Italian herbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix together until well combined, then shape into ½" balls. Arrange the meatballs on a clean baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo pasta and cook as per package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a second large pot set over medium-high heat, sweat the leeks in olive oil for about 5 minute or until soft and translucent. Stir in the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Gently drop the meatballs into the soup, one at a time, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the asparagus and sugar snap peas, and continue simmering for another 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are bright green and tender. Stir in the orzo and serve.