Orzo Soup with Merguez Lamb Meatballs
So I hear it’s cold and snowy up north. I hear that the snow is pretty and all that, approved but you’ve all had enough of it. I guess it’s not a good time to complain about the temperatures dipping into the 40’s here tonight. And I probably shouldn’t boast about how delicious the weather’s been for outdoor dining. That would just be mean.
So instead I’ll offer up a soup recipe that begs for cold winter days. It all starts off with merguez lamb sausage. If you’ve never had it, let me tell you – you’re missing out. This sausage is bright red, spicy and piquant. Because it’s seasoned with harissa, it has a subtle Middle Eastern spice that gives this soup such great flavor. If you can’t find lamb mergeuz sausage, you can definitely make your own by mixing ground lamb with a couple spoonfuls of harissa. If even that sounds like too much work, you can always substitute Mexican chorizo or spicy Italian sausage, though the flavors are not the same.
I made little meatballs from the sausage and browned them up. Then I sauteed onions and carrots in the same oil to infuse them with meaty goodness. All of that is simmered in beef stock with collard greens until tender, then the meatballs are added back along with some whole wheat orzo. Ladled into a big bowl and dusted with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, this soup was better than I expected. Meaty, but still full of vegetables and whole grain pasta. One of the most satisfying lunches I’ve had this year.