The weather has been glorious the past week here in Umbria with higher than normal daytime temperatures. As soon as the sun goes down, however, the thermostat dips and we have typical cool fall nights which make it perfect for curling up under the covers. Cooler temperatures have me turning to heavier evening meals like soups, stews, and even polenta dishes. I recently bought two Asian pumpkins, also known as a Kabocha squash. Kabocha can vary in size, with the average weighing two to four pounds. This variety of squash has a dark green exterior with colored stripes and a flat, dull surface. The interior is dark orange in color, and the flesh is very meaty and dense. It is one of my favorite winter squash varieties to cook and bake with as there are fewer seeds than many other varieties of pumpkin, and the meaty flesh is subtly sweet making it an excellent choice for sweet or savory dishes.
To complete my soup, I added some Tuscan black cabbage, also known as Lacinato kale, or cavolo nero, some chopped onions and celery and homemade chicken broth. Our handyman recently brought us one of his chickens he had butchered, and although I appreciated the gift, the bird was quite scrawny and tough. I decided to make broth with the bird and used the meat from the chicken to make homemade dog food for our pup Zoe. The stock was very flavorful and was perfect to use in this soup. If you do not have homemade chicken broth, I’d suggest buying a quality brand of organic chicken or vegetable broth. To make this soup hearty enough to please my husband and for it to become a dinner entree, I added small turkey meatballs to the soup after browning them first. This soup is a meal in a bowl when served at lunch, or add a mixed salad and a loaf of crusty Italian bread to serve at dinner. You can serve this soup topped with grated cheese or crispy croutons if you prefer although we enjoyed the soup directly as it came out of the pot.
Deborah Mele 2016
Pumpkin & Kale Soup With Turkey Meatballs
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, Peeled & Chopped
- 3 Celery Stalks, Chopped
- 3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Chopped
- 1 Quart Homemade or Organic Chicken Broth
- 3 Cups Diced Kabocha Squash
- 3 Cups Chopped Tuscan Black Cabbage
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
For The Turkey Meatballs:
- 1 Pound Ground Turkey
- 1/3 Cup Grated Pecorino or Parmesan Cheese
- 1/3 Cup Minced Onion
- 1 Garlic Clove Minced
- 2 Teaspoons Finely Chopped Parsley
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Vegetable Oil For Frying
- Heat oil in medium sized stockpot over medium heat.
- Add the onion and celery, sauté until just softened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in garlic, then cook for another minute or two.
- Add the broth, season with salt and pepper if using, and bring mixture to a boil.
- Add the squash and kale, and reduce the heat to a simmer.
- While the soup is cooking, in a bowl, mix together the meatball ingredients.
- Use your hands to roll the meat into balls about 1-inch in diameter.
- Heat a frying pan with about 1/4 cup of oil to medium heat.
- Brown the meatballs on all sides by shaking the pan often as they cook, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the meatballs to the stockpot and cook until the meatballs are cooked through and the squash and kale are tender, about 25 minutes.