The colder weather, longer nights, and the absolute gluttony of Thanksgiving have me spent mentally and physically. I’m feeling like I need total body and soul cleansing. So, I decided to create one for myself with this gluten free turkey meatball soup with fennel.
Yes, fennel! I recently tried fennel for the very first time in a recipe I found for braised center cut pork chops and it was divine.
Since then, I’ve done some research on this wonderfully aromatic and delicious veggie and found out that it is also off the charts in health benefits. First, and probably its greatest health benefit, is that it helps reduce inflammation, which is what I need most at the moment. I’m feeling like I blew up overnight (too much of the “good” stuff I guess)! Fennel contains large amounts of anethole which is a naturally occurring ether compound that has been proven to reduce inflammation. It’s also really high in dietary fiber. I think we all know the underlying benefit of that. Cleanse, cleanse and more cleanse! Besides all of that, it’s a good source of vitamin C.
I had to throw in some turkey and pork, even though it might counterbalance my anti-inflammatory efforts. I’m going to go with my instinct on this one. Alright, I’ll make sure it’s gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free to throw the scales back in my favor.
By the way, I do not have celiac disease nor do I have any wheat allergy, at least not that I can tell. I avoid wheat and other gluten containing grains solely to lose weight!! Seriously though, you would punch me in the face if I told you I needed to lose weight. I would punch me in the face.
Honestly, I try to avoid wheat and gluten as much as I can because of the negative effects “today’s wheat” has on my physical and mental health. I’m not perfect about it, but I feel that the effort I’ve put in so far has been a great benefit to my overall health. I’m of the belief that where there’s expectation of perfection, there will always be failure. Therefore, trying my best is something and better than not trying at all. We all know the result of that. It’s nothing. That’s how I feel with diet or in anything I do in life for that matter.
If you’re interested and you want to find out some great reasons you should avoid wheat and gluten all together or just as much as possible, then I would highly recommend reading this book.
The title would make it seem to be a diet. Well, in fact it is. But, it’s a healthy one. I find most people associate diet with weight loss and that’s it. Some believe that if a diet is good, that you should be shedding pounds despite the fact that you might feel like total crap. I believe a diet should be a plan toward better health first. It should make you feeling healthier, happier and stronger, physically and mentally. Now, if you’re losing weight in the mean time, well I’d say that’s a freakin‘ bonus!
If you’ve heard a lot about gluten-free, wheat free, or grain free diets but haven’t gotten around to educating yourself yet Wheat Belly Total Health: The Ultimate Grain-Free Health and Weight-Loss Life Plan is quite eye-opening.
Now, on to this amazingly delicious soup I made today. That’s right, soup again! It’s that time of year.
GLUTEN FREE TURKEY MEATBALL SOUP WITH FENNEL
1 lb. ground turkey
¼ lb. mild or hot italian sausage (ground or casings removed)
½ cup almond flour
2 large eggs
2 large garlic cloves minced
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup grass-fed butter
2 medium to fennel bulbs quartered and sliced
1 medium yellow onion quartered and sliced thin
2 – 32 fl. oz. boxes of organic vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, mild Italian sausage, and eggs.
Add the ingredient behind the “gluten free” (and “grain free” by the way), almond flour.
Now add minced garlic, chopped fresh thyme,
paprika, salt, and pepper.
Now mix well. It looks so beautiful now; I almost hate to touch it.
Oh well. Here we go…
Shape meat mixture into to 1 or 1 1/4-inch balls. Shaping meatballs always seems to get a little sticky. I found that rubbing your hands in a little olive oil makes it easier and little less messy.
Now heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a pan over high heat. Once oil is hot, place meatballs in large pan, turn the heat to medium-high and brown the outsides. Roll them around frequently so they retain their shape.
Once browned, remove them from the pan and set aside.
Note: This will yield about 20-25 meatballs. You’re pan might not be able to accommodate all of them. I know mine wasn’t. If you’res doesn’t you will have to do them in batches.
Now it’s time for the fennel.
Preparing fennel might be new to you, as it was to me not long ago. Here’s a quick example of how to slice it.
First rinse it thoroughly.
After you rinse it, remove the fennel fronds and remove any bad places on the bulbs.
Don’t throw the fronds away! You can freeze these and save them for later. They’re perfect for adding to vegetable stock. Or if nothing else, they you can use them for garnishing this soup.
Now cut them in halves and then quarters,
Remove the hard core from each quartered piece,
then slice just like you would your onion.
Now it’s time to put the soup together. First, melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the sliced fennel and onion; cook and stir until it starts to brown, about 8-10 minutes.
Pour in the broth and add meatballs.
Turn soup down to medium-low and simmer for 20 more minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Now, you might be thinking, fennel? I’ve never had it. I’ve never heard of it. It sounds weird and not sure I’m going to like it.
While you’re working off the fear, and trying to figure out whether or not to step outside of the box to try something new. I’m going to grab another bowl of this delicious, soul warming, golden goodness and go curl up by the fire.
I’ll be here waiting for you.