Roasted Eggplant Soup with Orzo and Mini Lamb Meatballs

Every once in a while, I get the urge to make a great soup. As soon as the chill of fall hits and winter is on the way, that becomes fairly often. I have a few standbys – butternut soup, variations on minestrone, and chili. But this weekend I had the desire to branch out and try something different. Last time I did that, I had wonderful results. I remembered a ratatouille soup my mom used to make – it was actually a recipe we got from the Diet Workshop (before the days of Weight Watchers). I loved the large chunks of vegetables, especially the eggplant, so I started doing some searching for soups containing eggplant. I actually decided to go a different route, one that involved roasted, pureed eggplant, when I found such a recipe on Epicurious. It sounded great, but pretty simple, and for a Sunday evening dinner, I wanted it to be a little more hearty. I had some boneless lamb in the freezer, and thought it would be perfect to grind up and make some miniature lamb meatballs. And some orzo seemed appropriate too. This seemed to be shaping up like a Greek-spin on Italian wedding soup!

This turned out really well – the flavor of roasted eggplant in the soup was different than any other vegetable soups I’ve tried. The mini meatballs and orzo were great, however, I’m not sure I would bake the meatballs next time; the edges were a bit too crusty. Still though, the flavor was great and really complimented the eggplant. Finally, some goat cheese on top melted in to make a creamy, rich broth.

Roasted Eggplant Soup with Orzo and Mini Lamb Meatballs
Inspired by
Bon Appetit, November 1997

4 plum tomatoes, halved
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and halved lengthwise*
1 small onion, halved
1 head of garlic
salt & pepper
1-2 tsp or Greek seasoning blend, such as Penzey’s (an Italian seasoning blend would work well too)
6 cups low-sodium, fat free chicken broth

1 lb ground lamb
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

2 tbsp grated pecorino romano cheese
salt, pepper, and Greek seasoning blend to taste
pinch of crushed red pepper

4 oz uncooked orzo

crumbled goat cheese, for serving
Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice the top of the garlic so that the cloves are exposed; place on a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap up tightly. Place tomatoes, eggplant, and onion on a large baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray; spray vegetables as well. Place the foil-wrapped-garlic on the pan too. Roast until vegetables are tender and brown in spots, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Scoop vegetables into a large saucepan; squeezing the garlic cloves from the skins, and add seasonings. Add chicken broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook until onion is very tender, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Preheat oven to 375. Combine lamb, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan, and seasonings. Mix well with hands. Scoop the meatballs the size of a rounded teaspoon, roll in hands, and place on a baking sheet covered in foil. Bake for about 20 minutes until browned on the outside.
Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan. Add meatballs and continue to simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in a separate pot, and drain.
Just before serving, add orzo to soup. Garnish each bowl with crumbled goat cheese.
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3 Responses to “Roasted Eggplant Soup with Orzo and Mini Lamb Meatballs”

  1. 1

    That Girl — November 6, 2008 @ 3:50 am Reply

    This may be the first I’ve ever heard of eggplant soup.

  2. 2

    Kevin — November 14, 2008 @ 1:32 am Reply

    This soup sounds great!

  3. 3

    That Girl — April 5, 2011 @ 1:17 am Reply

    This may be the first I've ever heard of eggplant soup.

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