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Tuscan Spinach Soup

Spinach and meatballs make a great Passover meal.

As the week of Passover wears on, you might get tired of eating matzah ball soup. This recipe is a great alternative, and it is also delicious year-round. A traditional Tuscan spinach (or kale) soup has white beans. Yet beans, in general, are kitniyot, a category of food which Sephardic Jews eat on Passover, but Ashkenazic Jews avoid. This recipe leaves them out and offers as a replacement Passover-safe “couscous.”

Keep in mind that any kind of pasta product in soup will absorb a lot of liquid, so if you do use the Passover couscous you will need more stock. You can also replace the spinach in this recipe with kale. For a vegetarian meal, feel free to leave out the meatballs entirely and make a pareve soup.

Ingredients

olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic

1 celery rib

1 large onion

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon oregano

3/4 cup matzah meal

1 egg

1 lb ground beef or ground turkey

6-8 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1-2 teaspoons salt (to taste)

1 lb bag of fresh spinach

1/2 cup Passover couscous (optional)

Directions

To make the meatballs:

Place the chopped meat in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg, matzah meal, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix gently with your hands until just homogenous; try not to work the meat too much or the meatballs might end up hard.

Once the meat is mixed, roll donut-hole sized meatballs, and set on a plate. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and brown the meatballs on all sides. When the meatballs are browned, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate with paper towel to remove any excess oil.

Add them to the boiling soup pot as described below.

To make the soup:

Chop onion, celery, and garlic; set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan until very hot, but not smoking. Add the onions, celery, and garlic and cook until translucent.

Add the stock and salt, raise the flame to high, and let the liquid come to a rolling boil. Once the liquid is lightly boiling, reduce the flame, and let simmer. If you are including meatballs you should add them now and let the soup simmer for another 10-15 minutes. For the last 5 minutes, add the fresh spinach or kale.

Prepare the couscous as directed on the box. Once the spinach is completely wilted, add the couscous if you choose. Let sit until the couscous absorbs enough liquid that it is plump.

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