Monday, January 26, 2015

Slow Cooker Turkey Meatball & Brown Rice Medley Soup

Slow Cooker Turkey Meatball  Brown Rice Soup

I am going on record by saying that I have never really liked soups with rice in it.  Until now that is.

I recently went to Trader Joe's to pick up a few things, but actually left with four bag fulls of groceries (tell me that happens to you too...  please!).

One of the items I picked up was Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley. The medley consists of  long grain brown rice, black barley and daikon radish seeds. Here's a picture of the package ====>

Then the light-bulb in my head went off ... add it to the soup you are making tomorrow ... that light-bulb said. And I did, I didn't even hesitate, even knowing that I don't like rice in my soup and the soup turned out to be far more than delicious, it was extraordinary.

You see, I had made this soup before and yes, it was delicious but this addition took it to the next level.

The different rices and grains added that extra texture that this soup needed.

Now, I know not everyone has a Trader Joe nearby but you can make your own medley by adding a 1/4 cup of brown rice, 1/8 cup of wild or basmati rice, 1/8 cup of red quinoa and an 1/8 cup of white quinoa, barley or whatever other rice, seed or grain you may have. This is a great way to use up those small bits of rice or grain you have left that really won't amount to much if you cook it on its own.

Here's the best part, this recipe makes enough to freeze the leftovers (and it freezes well) for another day.  I love recipes like that ...

For the meatballs:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped (use whatever color pepper you prefer or have on hand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound ground turkey 
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven 375 degrees.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat, add oil followed by shallots and green peppers.  Sprinkle lightly with salt to help release the juices.  Cook 5 minutes or until softened, add garlic, cook another minute. Set aside to cool.
  3. Mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add in the cooked vegetables, mix well to incorporate.
  4. Shape into 1" meatballs and place on foil or parchment lined lipped baking sheet.
  5. Bake 15-20 minutes. Halfway through cooking time flip meatballs so that they brown on both sides.

For the soup:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4-6 medium carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, cut into medium to large wedges
  • 8oz frozen pearl onions
  • 8 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice or Trader Joe's  
  • Leftover Parmesan rind (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 - 10oz package of frozen spinach, defrosted and squeeze out all the extra liquid over a bowl (throw that liquid into the soup). Keep spinach wrapped in paper towel in the fridge.
  1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add oil followed by the carrots and cabbage.  Cook until the cabbage is cooked down to half its volume and the carrots a just barely browned. 
  2. Add pearl onions and cooked for 4 minutes. Lower heat if needed to avoid burning vegetables.
  3. Transfer all the vegetables to the slow cooker.
  4. Add the meatballs and the remaining ingredients, except for the spinach, to the slow cooker.
  5. Set slow cooker to low for 8 hours.
  6. Ten minutes before serving break up spinach and stir into soup to warm through.
Serve with your favorite thick and dense bread of choice.  Enjoy!

Recipe Notes: 

For the meatballs you can either set them aside to use immediately or let them cool to room temperature, bag in zip bag and store in fridge (no more than 3 days) or freeze until you are ready to make the soup.
You can skip steps 1 and 2 of the soup preparation and just dump the carrots, cabbage and onions into the cooker.  I prefer making it as described because I feel it adds a layer of depth of flavor to the vegetables and the soup.
Why the Parmesan rind?  Extra flavor and body to the soup. It's optional but if you have one throw it in.  Don't go out and buy a hunk of Parmesan just for this. And if you don't save the rinds (put 'em in the freezer in a zip bag) ... start doing so! Do you eat it? Some don't ... I do. It's the chef's treat, just for me.


  1. We love the Greek equivelant, which is giouvarlakia/youvarlakia, a meatball soup, and this is a rich, healthy and delicious alternative! Thanx so much Jackie!

    1. Thank you for commenting Little Cooking Tips. Going to have to try the greek version for sure!