Sausage Meatball and Orzo Soup
Since I moved to New York City, I’ve been exploring the farmer’s markets and trying to eat as much local, farm-raised product as I can. You see, moving from Vermont, I knew it was going to be hard to leave the food culture that we have. We’re surrounded by farms, who grow organic fruit and vegetables, raise grass-fed meats and make delicious treats like honey, maple syrup, granola and jams.
Surprisingly, at least to me, I discovered that we have a pretty great farmer’s market. It’s a little bit more expensive, and the produce doesn’t feel quite as fresh, but they’re from local farms around the area which makes me feel good.
There’s one stall in particular that I continue to return to each weekend. I don’t remember the name of the farm, but they sell the most amazing lamb sausage. They also spin their own wool, but it’s the sausage that got me hooked.
Every Saturday as I’m strolling through the farmer’s market, and yes during the winter too, I start at the apple stall, make my way to the vegetable vendors with big bunches of kale, winter squash and sweet potatoes, and then I get this whiff of charcoal and grilled meat. It’s the farm that makes lamb sausage and they’re always grilling and giving free samples. That’s how I became obsessed. And every flavor we have tried has been absolutely amazing.
Usually Sunday’s breakfast involves lamb sausage and scrambled egg because we can’t wait any longer, but I knew I wanted to try something a little different this time around.
I did some searching for lamb sausage recipes, and most them just didn’t sound that appealing, until I found this recipe for Lamb Merguez Sausage soup. Hello! Totally what I was making.
Obviously, being me, I knew there had to be some quinoa added to the dish, so in addition to using quinoa orzo pasta, I also added quinoa to my lamb sausage meatballs. It helps bind the meatballs without changing the flavor at all. Plus, since quinoa is so good for us, it doesn’t hurt to have a little extra nutrients in our soup.
For the greens, I was going to use kale, but decided on mustard greens because I thought the spice / tang that these greens have would add a nice depth of flavor to the soup. And it was delicious. I’ve decided I need to eat mustard greens more often.
You could use regular orzo in place of the gluten-free pasta I used, the results will be exactly the same. Enjoy 🙂
Sausage Meatball and Orzo Soup
Yield: 4 - 6
1 lb. lamb sausage
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
5 cups beef broth + more as needed
1 cup orzo (gluten-free optional)
1 bunch mustard greens
Salt to taste
Oil for sauteeing
In a large bowl, combine the sausage and quinoa. Roll into meatballs (about the size of golf balls) and set aside.
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven, add meatballs and sear until golden brown on all sides. Remove and set aside.
Add onions and carrots and sauté until tender, 3 - 5 minutes. Add beef broth and mustard greens, bring to a boil, cover and reduce down to simmer for 15 minutes, until all ingredients is tender.
Add the orzo and meatballs into the pot. Cook until orzo is al dente, 8 - 12 minutes depending on the type. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer soups to bowls and serve immediately. Enjoy!