I used to love patty melts. In fact, it was one of my favorite things to order when we went out to dinner at a greasy spoon. Celiac disease (and a low-carb paleo diet) put the patty melt out of reach for me, but I know I could find a way to get all the same flavors without it having to be a greasy burger.
Whenever I’m trying to recreate flavor profiles of a favorite dish I can no longer have, my first stop is soup. I figure you can recreate almost any flavor in a soup. In this case, it worked. Patty melt cravings satisfied in a delicious, low-carb, paleo way.
Patty Melt Soup
4 slices bacon, cut into pieces
2 pounds ground beef
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground caraway seed (use a spice grinder if you can’t find it ground)
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.
I love soup! It’s delicious, you can load it with veggies, and it’s quick and easy to prepare. We’ve got some big-time meat eaters in our family, so I especially like making soup with meatballs in it to make a really meaty soup. Tonight is the first time I’ve made this soup, but it was really tasty.
Italian Meatball Veggie Soup
1 pound hot Italian sausage
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons duck fat (or another paleo-friendly fat)
1 onion, chopped
8 cups homemade beef or chicken stock
1 can (14 ounces) organic chopped tomatoes (undrained)
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 zucchini, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
3 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the Italian sausage, ground beef, one tablespoon of the garlic, the Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper, mixing until well combined. Form into one-inch meatballs. Set aside.
In a large pot, heat the duck fat over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown, about five minutes.
Add the stock, the remaining one teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, tomatoes, fennel, red pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, and carrots. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil.
Drop in the meatballs. Return the soup to a boil and cook until the meatballs are cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes (depending on size).
Stir in the baby spinach and basil. Remove the soup from the heat.