Meatball Sub Soup!?!

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February 6, 2013 by caitlinvaclark

I started my blog the week after a trip to Paris with a recipe for French Onion Soup. I was in Paris again last weekend and when I wasn’t drinking lots of wine…

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…overwhelming myself with cheese choices…

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…and window shopping among beautiful chocolate and flower shops…

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…I was thinking up new recipes, including today’s recipe which shares some similarities with the famous French cheesy, oniony concoction that started my blogging journey.

The other contributors to my idea for last night’s dinner are my husband and my sister-in-law, Brittany. Chris loves a meatball sub…Like has been known to eat them for breakfast kind of love. And Brit stated over dinner last month that her favorite food was bread in sauce. At the time, we were at an Indian restaurant, mopping up all the delicious curried yogurt with naan, so it was contextually fitting. But she said a good sauce was really all she needed.

So I was thinking about food, as usual, and realized I could make a soup that encompassed their favorite things: Meatball Sub Soup. With a tomato soup base (very saucy) and a delicious bread and cheese topping, I could recreate the flavors of the sandwich in a piping hot toasty bowl.

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Start by sautéing onion with oregano and salt and pepper. I cooked the onion for both the meatballs and soup together to save myself from cleaning another dish.

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I mixed the ground beef with some of the onions and parmesan cheese to form these small meatballs, which need to bake for about 10 minutes. Truth be told, I think I would make them even smaller when I make this soup again. You want them to be truly bite-sized.

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While the meatballs bake, make the tomato soup by adding two cans of whole plum tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as they go in. Along with some chicken broth, simmer away for about 15 minutes.

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Then add lots of fresh basil and cook for a few more minutes before blending the soup into a smooth, tangy, sweet, and salty pot of goodness. you could easily stop here, toast up a grilled cheese, and call it a night. But we have more in store!

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Fill some oven-safe bowls with the soup and meatballs (about 6 per bowl). You could easily mix the meatballs directly into the whole pot, but I was thinking I might freeze my leftover tomato soup so I kept them separate.

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Top with French bread and the cheeses – fresh mozzarella and parmesan – in the same way you would top a French onion soup.

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Broil until the cheese browns and bubbles like a pizza or, of course, a toasted meatball sub!

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Meatball Sub Soup

Serves 4 

For the meatballs:

1 tsp olive oil

½ small onion, diced

1 lb. lean ground beef

¼ tsp dried oregano

¼ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated

Salt and Pepper

For the soup:

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 garlic cloves

½ tsp dried oregano

2- 28 oz. cans whole plum tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth

½ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped

Salt and Pepper

For the topping:

12 slices French bread, toasted

8 slices fresh mozzarella

4 Tbs. fresh grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Prepare the meatballs, by sautéing the onions in a small skillet with the olive oil, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and continue to cook for about 2 more minutes, until soft. Mix onions with the ground beef, parmesan, salt, and pepper. Form mixture into about 30 small meatballs, less than an inch, and place on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.

In a large soup pot, sauté the onions, garlic, and oregano for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, along with their juices, crushing the tomatoes by hand. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, then add the basil and season with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer for 5 more minutes. Turn off the heat and using a handheld blender, blend until smooth. Stir in the meatballs.

Turn on the oven broiler.

Fill oven-safe bowls with the soup. Top each bowl with French bread, mozzarella, and parmesan. Place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly and brown.

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