This soup has been made in my family for years. I did this recipe on my own. Never learned it from anyone. Found out later that it is called Italian wedding soup. Only mine does not have any vegetables. Regardless it still is what it is.
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Step 1: Ingredients
2 1/2 lbs chicken thighs
1 lb Orzo pasta
Pecorino Romano cheese (not Parmesan...never been a fan of what I call "foot cheese")
1 lb ground beef
jarred minced garlic
Step 2: Cook Chicken
I bought a 5lb package of skin on/bone in chicken thighs. I have a slow cooker, but you can use a crock pot. They are basically the same. The only difference is that the slow cooker is a separate pot that I can actually cook on the stove. I prefer this over the crock pot, which I do use for other things.
Stick 2 1/2 lbs chick in the crock pot. Do not trim. Skin, bone and all. Fill with 12 cups of water. Warm the heating element (like a single electric burner that comes with the crock pot. And put the chicken on overnite (this is how I spell night, get used to it). I didn't take the chick off until I got home from work the next day. It was slow cooking 12+hours....won't hurt it a bit. You can use this same method to get your very own chicken stock.
Step 3: Orzo Pasta
Now you will want to do this the night before as well. Pasta will absorb all moisture, so by doing this you stop that process.
On a separate pot, put water and some chicken bouillon (not much just a few sprinkes). This replaces any salt that one may add to cooking pasta. Heat the water to a boil. Put Orzo pasta in. Stir often to keep it from sticking. Cook until the pasta is tender then drain it. Put it in a bowl and in the fridge.
Step 4: The Next Day
Take the chicken out of the pot. Remove and dump the skin, bones and fat. Dice up the chicken and place back into the pot.
Step 5: Add Orzo Pasta
Add the cold pasta to the soup. You will have to break it up. Once you cool pasta it sticks together unless you do something to prevent this. In this case, I don't care. I just break it back up and put it into the pot with the chicken and the stock.
Step 6: Meataballs (Italian Accent)
Time to make the meatballs. This is the same recipe my family has been using for years to make meatballs for Sunday Gravy (or as most Americans would say spaghetti sauce). Only for this recipe we are making small recipes. Keep in mind there are only a few things that are actually measured. I've been doing this for so long I don't measure, I just know. You can also see just the meatball recipe.
I use 85/15 ground beef. This is primarily what I always use. It gives just enough meat and just enough fat to flavor it. Too lean and it won't taste the same. Its all up to the individual tho. Now for every pound of ground beef you will need the following. In this case we are only making 1 pound. There is no particular order for any of this.
1/2 chopped onion
approximately 2 heaping teaspoons of jarred granulated garlic)
approximately a couple tablespoons of Romano cheese
approximately a tablespoon of salt
approximately a teaspoon of ground pepper
approximately 2 tablespoons of dried parsley
approximately 1 cup breadcrumbs (Italian or plain)
Put in the bowl and hand mix until well blended. Ball your meatballs. Remember, these are small meatballs. Similar size to what Subway puts in their meatball subs. Maybe 2 inch in diameter. If you have some left and its not enough, that's ok. Make 1 last meatball.
Step 7: Cook Meatballs
In another pot place all the meatballs and fill with water so that they are all covered. Add 2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon to the water. This will also help salt the soup later. Once the water boils they should only cook 10-15 minutes.
Step 8: Enjoy!
After the meatballs are finished, place them as well as the water into the main pot. Stir well. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Serve in bowl and top with some Romano.
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