Meatball Soup with Chard and Mushrooms

  Serves 4-5 For the meatballs Mix in a medium bowl: 1 pound organic lean ground beef, 2 tablespoons minced onion, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, salt and pepper Divide into 16 one ounce balls and brown in a few tablespoons olive oil in a nonstick skillet on almost all sides over med-high heat and place on paper toweling. They can be rare inside. For the soup 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 organic brown onion, chopped 3 stalks organic celery, chopped 2 organic carrots, peeled and sliced thin 2 cloves garlic, minced 4 cups organic vegetable broth (low sodium) 1 bunch organic chard (any color) stems sliced (you can remove ends if they are brown or woody) and leaves cut in one inch strips, separated In a large heavy pot (a 4 quart size is fine) Saute the onion celery and carrot in olive oil over medium heat until the onion is transparent, approx. 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and the sliced chard stems and cook another minute or so. Add the vegetable stock, cover and cook for about 10 minutes to distribute all flavors. Add the meatballs and the cut chard leaves and cook on medium low for another 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. That’s it, very easy! Some options to add….sliced mushrooms of any kind, kale, a splash of sherry right after the sauté stage, cooked pasta for the last few minutes, or a chopped heirloom tomato (last 5 minutes). And a tablespoon of grated pecorino is fabulous when you serve it up in a bowl.