This is a meal for when your heart says ‘summer!’ and the weather says ‘no. spring, at best’.
My camera packed in when I was making this. I’m hoping it’s a ‘charge the batteries’ situation rather than a ‘you dropped me too many times’ situation. As a result, the few photos in this post were taken on my phone – not the best, but then again not the worst since we have plenty of lovely daylight right now.
I started with chicken breasts, which I reduced to mince with a sturdy knife, a determined attitude and a disregard for loud hammering noises.
I added fresh thyme, lemon juice, lemon zest, spring onion, salt and pepper to the chicken, and mixed thoroughly to this rather appetising homogeneous goop.
Once shaped into meatballs, fried until golden and stacked into a precarious pyramid, they look a little better.
Once I had the meatballs, I had to decide what to do with them. I turned to one of my very favourite recipes, this minestrone soup on Food 52. It’s an easy recipe to do, and even if you freestyle it, it turns out well. Even if you forget to put in the celery that you bought specially to make this soup, it turns out well. Even if you forget to put in the bacon that you defrosted especially to make this soup, it turns out well. Even if you change the recipe almost completely, it turns out well. It’s a good recipe.
I put the bacon in once the soup was simmering – threw in two whole slices, made sure they were covered, and let it be. It worked out really well. The celery is still sitting on the kitchen counter. I don’t know what to do with it.
For today’s version of the minestrone (this isn’t my first post about the amazing minestrone), I used garlic, carrot and courgette, tinned tomatoes, vegetable bouillon and frozen spinach. Plus afterthought bacon (those two words should never really go together). I skipped the potatoes and chickpeas in favour of tiny pasta shells and the chicken meatballs. Then I added some dainty pesto quenelles, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and pea shoots to make the whole plate look like a forest bower. Sometimes it’s fun to combine foliage and food.