The other day John had to stay at work late. As we all know, this means I get to eat WHATEVER I WANT FOR DINNER MUAHAHAHAHAHA with no regard for the food-related desires of others.
A week or two ago we had roasted a post-thanksgiving chicken, taken all the resulting meat off the bones, and boiled the stripped carcass with onion, carrots, and celery for a massive supply of chicken broth. I did eat some of the chicken, but otherwise put a large container of meat and eight (EIGHT!) containers of strained broth in the freezer. Our freezer was extremely crowded, but ready to provide ingredients for any number of tasty dinners at a moment's notice.
So I rifled through the freezer, grabbed some chicken broth and lamb meatballs, and went to work.
Soup with lamb meatballs and copious greens
ginger, fresh if at all possible
soy sauce, sriracha, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil
If you don't have a freezer supply of meatballs, start with them. Any kind of meatball spiced to work with Asian flavors should work fine. I made mine by mixing ground lamb with breadcrumbs, ginger, lemongrass, and hot red pepper, all chopped finely. Then I formed them into balls a little smaller than a ping-pong ball and cooked them over medium-high heat until browned on all sides & done in the middle.
I like to use precooked meatballs because 1. the char you get from pan-frying is delicious and 2. you don't have to worry about them cooking through (or breaking apart in boiling broth) later. It would probably be just fine to simmer them in the soup until done if you prefer, however. In either case, have them formed before you start making the soup itself.
Ok. For the soup, start by warming some olive oil in a deep pan over medium heat. Chop up some garlic, fresh ginger, and the whites of a few green onions, and sauté them in the oil for about five minutes, or until soft and aromatic. Add some sliced mushrooms and a pinch of salt, mix everything up, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. You want the mushrooms to reduce and turn golden brown, so try not to crowd them overmuch.
When the mushrooms have browned, add your broth. Mine was still frozen, so I added some water as well. Put on the lid, bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer.
At this point you can add your meatballs and cook until either heated through (in the case of precooked meatballs) or cooked through (in the case of raw). Obviously the time will differ for each, and you might need to play with the heat to keep the broth sufficiently hot. My meatballs were frozen, as mentioned; they took somewhere between five and ten minutes to heat completely.
While your soup bubbles away, wash some chard leaves, strip them off their stems (which you can put in the freezer stockpile), and roughly chop them. Practically any type of cookable green would work here: spinach, cabbage, kale, or whatever you have in the crisper. I just like chard.
When your meatballs are done & hot, add your chopped greens to the pot and stir to combine. If you're using a particularly delicate green, turn off the heat; if you're using something hardy, be prepared to cook another five to ten minutes. When your greens are done, take the soup off the burner and season sparingly with soy sauce, sriracha, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil. Then taste and decide if you want to add any more. When the soup tastes good, you are done.
Garnish with chopped green onion greens, let cool enough to avoid blistering your lips, and eat.
And if you find that you've made more soup than you can eat, well, you just cleared out that spot in your freezer, right?