I know, I know. More soup. It’s the first day of fall, so a nice, warming soup is perfect for your dinner.
One of the reasons I like soups and stews so much is that they really provide an opportunity to build flavor, which gives them a complex, rich taste. In the case of this soup, the complex flavors come from taking the time to brown your meat and caramelize your onions, which adds a deep savory richness to the soup. This soup is pretty easy and hands-off, so while it takes a bit of time to come together, it isn’t terribly labor-intensive.
Caramelized Onion and Italian Sausage Soup
2 tablespoons duck fat, lard, or your favorite fat
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, then you may have noticed that I make a lot of soup. It’s because I love soup. I make some type of soup at least once a week. You can load soups with healthy bone broth, veggies, meats, herbs, and spices and never have the same meal twice. Well, actually – I usually have the same meal twice with leftovers for the freezer, but that’s because I follow the cook once eat twice (or more) philosophy. That means I always make an extra big batch of soup because I just know some is destined for the freezer. Of course, that also means I have a slow cooker full of broth simmering on the counter several days per week, as well. Because if you’re going to make the most flavorful soup, you definitely need homemade bone broth
While I used homemade duck stock for the soup and ground duck for the meatballs, feel free to replace those ingredients with chicken stock and ground pork if you wish.
Spicy Asian Meatball and Vegetable Soup
3 bunches green onions, chopped, divided
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed but reserved, caps sliced
10 garlic cloves, chopped, divided
1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 teaspoons grated gingerroot, divided
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon Chinese dry mustard powder
2 pounds ground duck (or ground pork)
1/2 teaspoon expeller pressed sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon Red Boat fish sauce
2 tablespoons homemade sriracha, divided (or 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes)
2 tablespoons of duck fat (or another paleo-friendly fat)
6-8 cups homemade duck stock (or chicken stock)
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 bunches of baby bok choy, chopped
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a chopping blade, add one bunch of the green onions, the shiitake mushroom stems (save the caps), 5 cloves of the garlic, half of the cilantro, 1 teaspoon of the gingerroot, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the mustard powder. Pulse for 10 one-second pulses, or until everything is extremely well chopped.
In a medium bowl, combine the ground duck, the sesame oil, the fish sauce, and one tablespoon of the sriracha with the contents of the food processor. Mix with your hands until well-combined. Form into one-inch meatballs and set aside.
In a large pot, heat the duck fat on medium-high until it shimmers. Add the remaining two bunches of chopped green onions and one teaspoon of grated gingerroot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, four to five minutes.
Add the remaining five cloves of chopped garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the duck stock, the pepper, the remaining sriracha, the carrots, and the sliced shiitake mushroom caps to the pot. Bring it to a boil.
Drop the meatballs into the boiling soup and return the pot to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Add the bok choy and the remaining cilantro to the pot. Turn of the heat. Allow the soup to sit for five minutes before serving.