Chicken Meatball Chili Soup comes to the rescue for families with picky eaters. Herbs and spices transform boring ground chicken to bites of delight, bursting with flavor. Kids love the little meatballs. It tastes even better the next day so feel free to make it ahead. This soup is not spicy, but feel free to add some hot sauce to kick it up a notch for the adults.
The ingredient list may look long (mostly herbs and spices), but they are common. As you will see from the instructons, this soup is very easy to make and cooks in about 15 minutes. Check my notes for a time-saving substitution.
Chicken Meatball Chili Soup Recipe
For the Chicken Meatballs:
1-1/2 pounds ground chicken (see Notes)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano crushed between hands
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (see Notes)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not canned)
1/2 sweet onion, finely minced (about 1 cup), divided use
4 medium cloves garlic, finely minced, divided use
2 teaspoons anchovy paste or 2 anchovy filets, finely minced (see Notes)
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup finely-crushed tortilla chips
For the Soup:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine (may substitute chicken broth)
3 cans (14 ounces each) chicken broth, or homemade (about 4-1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon chili powder (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed between hands
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, with liquid
2 small cans (4.5 ounces) chopped mild green chiles, with liquid
1 can (14.5 ounces) small white beans (cannellini), with liquid (may substitute black beans)
1 can (14.5 ounces) pinto beans, with liquid
1 cup frozen corn kernels
Hot sauce to taste
Tortilla chips and fresh cilantro for garnish
Make the Chicken Meatballs:
In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, oregano, cilantro, parsley, Parmesan cheese, half of the sweet onion, half of the garlic, anchovy paste, Dijon mustard, egg, heavy cream, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and crushed tortilla chips. Mix gently with your hands, being careful not to overwork the meat. Form into 1-inch meatballs and set aside.
Make the Soup:
Heat a large 6-quart stockpot over medium heat. Add olive oil, remaining onion and garlic. Gently saute until onions are translucent. Add white wine and cook 1 minute, stirring often. Add chicken broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring to a low boil.
Gently drop chicken meatballs into simmering liquid. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in diced tomatoes, chiles, white beans, pinto beans, corn, and hot sauce to taste. Return to a simmer and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Garnish Chicken Meatball Chili Soup with crushed tortilla chips and fresh cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips around the outside of the bowl.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
• I know many folks do not care for the taste of fresh cilantro, but it is a key ingredient in Latin dishes. It’s just not the same without it. Keep in mind that the soapy flavor that offends cilantro-haters virtually disappears during the cooking process. Please give it a try.
• Please do not skip the anchovies. You will not taste them at all, but they give an incredible flavor boost to otherwise bland ground chicken.
• You may substitute ground beef or even bulk ground sausage with equal success. If you are in a hurry, substitute pre-made frozen cocktail meatballs (plain, not sauced).