NOTHIN’ LIKE SOUP THERAPY
Well, okay, maybe homemade bread therapy, too. That’s probably why whenever I make soup to take to someone who is under the weather, I usually also make bread. Soup, bread, salad–a perfect meal to take to someone who is a bit under the weather.
Since I have always been one to make food for others when they are sick, I have developed some old stand-by recipes that nurture and soothe. This recipe is not an old stand-by though. My children didn’t grow up on it, so they don’t request it like they do Corn Chowder or Southwestern Soup. But maybe they will now.
When they were little, we didn’t even know what bok choy was. Maybe I had it in takeout Chinese dishes. Like many people, as we aged, Allen and I became more interested in eating what was good for us. Since we always loved Asian food, it was easy to start including bok choy in our diet.
DOESN’T TASTE LIKE CABBAGE TO ME
Bok choy is a member of the cabbage family, but it doesn’t really taste like cabbage to me. I think it has a milder, fresher taste than most cabbages. It looks a bit like Romaine lettuce on the top with large, white celery-like formation on the bottom.
This is a nutrient-dense vegetable that contains vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene; all are powerful antioxidants. Bok choy is also rich in vitamin K, containing approximately one-third of the daily recommended intake in a single cup serving.
The meatballs can be made with turkey, chicken, or pork—or a combination. You could even buy ready-made meatballs if you are short on time. When made with turkey or chicken, the meatballs are very soft, so be careful when cooking and turning them. I cook them in batches and remove when they are browned and cooked through. It is a good idea to taste one just to make sure they are done :-))
Set the meatballs aside and pour the broth into the pot, stirring to loosen the food particles and dissolve that toasty goodness back into the stock. Then add all but the last two ingredients (Ramen and bok choy) and bring it to a simmer. As I mention in the recipe portion below, it helps to stir a bit of the broth into the miso before adding it so if can loosen up and dissolve readily. Return the meatballs to the pot at the time, too.
EAT RIGHT AWAY OR MAKE IT AHEAD
Continue with the recipe by stirring in the ramen and bok choy to cook together if you are ready to eat right away. If you want to make it ahead, don’t add the ramen and bok choy until just before serving.
Since I often make this soup to take to others, I frequently let it simmer along at the back of the stove for a while, or even refrigerate it until the next day. Then, when I need to get ready to package it all up, I heat this base back up and finish by stirring in the ramen and bok choy. They cook quickly together and are finished in 2-3 minutes.
Bok Choy Meatball Soup
- 1 pound ground turkey; or combination of ground turkey and ground pork
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chives
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1-quart low sodium chicken broth
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- ¼ cup white miso
- 1-2 packages instant ramen noodles
- 2 large heads bok choy, or 5-6 baby bok choy, trimmed and sliced
Make the meatballs: combine all ingredients except oil in a medium bowl. Form mixture into small balls. Heat canola oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high. Working in batches, cook meatballs, until browned all over and cooked through; about 6-7 minutes. Transfer to a plate; set aside.
Make the soup base: Toss the carrots into the pot, then pour the broth into the pan, stirring to deglaze the pot. Add the water, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and wine to the pot; bring to a simmer. Measure the miso into a small bowl or glass measuring cup and whisk in a small amount of the warm broth to loosen and smooth it out. Return the meatballs to the pot.
Add ramen and bok choy and cook until noodles are just tender and bok choy is wilted, about 2-3 minutes.