No porcupines were harmed in the creation of this soup.
250 g lean ground beef
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup uncooked rice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil, or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cups beef broth
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
In a bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, rice, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Call in a kid. With wet hands, your child can roll the mixture into very small meatballs, using no more than 1 tsp (5 mL) of the meat for each one (don't forget to wash those hands later!). If the mixture is too soft to handle, you can add 1 tbsp (15 mL) bread crumbs - but if you chill the meat mixture for half an hour or so before rolling, this may not be necessary. Place meatballs on a waxed-paper-lined plate when they're done. Set aside.
Meanwhile, make the soup part. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat, then add the onion and cook until soft - about 5 or 6 minutes. Pour in the broth and tomatoes, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the carrots and celery and let the soup return to a boil. Now carefully drop the meatballs into the simmering broth and, without stirring, cover the pot with a lid and let it cook for 5 minutes. This will give the meatballs time to solidify so that they won't disintegrate when you stir the soup. Lower the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add the chickpeas and the parsley and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Test a meatball to make sure the rice is cooked through and, if it is, you're done.
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