Beet and Meatball Soup with Cabbage and Spaetzle

The idea behind this was to follow the pattern of an Italian wedding soup but with more Polish or eastern european ingredients. I swapped out the chicken broth with a thick beet puree, changed the meatballs, used cabbage instead of escarole, and spaetzle instead of pasta. The soup came out great and on top of that it was an absolutely stunning deep reddish pink color. I have been using beets a lot this winter, an ingredient I have sort of ignored in the past. I love when my brain gets stuck on a specific technique or ingredient and I need to explore as many applications for it as possible! I have dubbed it my winter of beets. On top of all that I made this dish gluten free including the spaetzle so that my roommate could enjoy it as well.
Usual beginnings of any good soup.  Carrot, onion, celery, garlic.
Stock in next and then the beets.
Once the beets are tender, blend the soup until it is smooth.
Meanwhile, make the meatballs.  These have beef, onion, turmeric, parsley, egg, garlic, and breadcrumbs.
Meatballs and cabbage right into the soup.  Cover this and let it simmer until everything is cooked.
Meanwhile, the spaetzle.  Sour cream, egg, rice flour, and a few tricks.
Press the spaetzle through anything you have with holes in it directly into the boiling water. I used a pizza pan.
Spaetzle!
Put some into a bowl and top with the soup.  Yessss.
I loved the color of this but the flavor is amazing too!  First of all the gluten free spaetzle were just about perfect in terms of flavor and texture.  The chewey pasta went really well with the meatballs and wilted cabbage, and the earthy sweet beets gave the whole thing such a unique flavor profile!
I made a big batch of this and ate it all week and it was perfect for the cold weather.
My roomates were a little freaked out by the bright magenta color, but it didn't stop them from eating a nice big bowls of it!

Beet and Meatball Soup with Cabbage and Spaetzle

  • Soup Base
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Carrot
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Celery
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 2 Quarts Chicken Stock
  • 6 or 7 Beets
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Large Head Napa Cabbage (shredded)
  • 1/4 Cup Mustard
  • Meatballs
  • 1.25 Pounds Ground Beef
  • 1/4 Cup Breadcrumbs (I used gluten free ones)
  • 2 Tablespoons Grated Onion
  • 1 Teaspoon Tumeric
  • 1 Clove Garlic (grated)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Spaetzle (Gluten Free)
  • 1.5 Cups Brown Rice Flour
  • 1/5 Cup Tapioca Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • Whole milk if needed

Instructions

    Make Meatballs
    1. Mix all the meatball ingredients together. Form little bite sized meatballs. Set aside.
    Make Spaetzle Dough
    1. Mix all spaetzle dough ingredients in a bowl. Add milk if needed to thin it out. It should be paste like in consistency. Set aside for 2 hours in the fridge.
    Make the soup
    1. Saute the celery, carrot, and onion in a big heavy bottom pot or dutch oven in some oil for about 15 minutes. They should be starting to brown and drastically reduced in size.
    2. Add the garlic and cook 3 minutes.
    3. Add in the stock and beets. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat. Cook about 40 minutes until the beets are tender.
    4. Blend soup with a hand blender. Add a little water if needed to thin it out.
    5. Add the meatballs and the cabbage and cover. Simmer on low covered for about 15 minutes. Stir and repeat.
    6. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Get any kitchen device that has large holes in it. I used a pizza pan. Place it over the boiling water and put the spaetzle dough on top. Press it through the holes with a spatula. The spaetzle fill fall into the water and cook. Boil the spaetzle for about 8 minutes until you taste one and it doesn't taste grainy.
    7. Strain the spaetzle and toss in a little butter or oil.
    8. Check to see that the meatballs and fully cooked.
    9. Add the mustard to the soup. Taste the soup for seasonings and adjust as needed.
    10. To serve put the spaetzle in a bowl and top with a big ladle of the soup mixture.