Posted at: 03/04/2013 2:21 PM

Flavor-packed roasted mini meatballs of spinach, feta and beef swim in a chicken veggie broth. Add toasted rice pilaf just before serving.

For the rice pilaf:

For the soup:

For the meatballs:

Serves 4

For the pilaf, melt the butter in a saucepot over medium heat. Add the pasta and toast to deep golden and fragrant. Stir in the rice and stock, bring to boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook to tender, 18 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF.

Heat the olive oil, two turns of the pan, in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onions, garlic, bay, herb bundle, salt and pepper and cook, partially covered, for 5-7 minutes to soften. Add the stock and bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer. Add the lemon juice to the broth just before serving.

Meanwhile, squeeze the liquid from the bread and crumble into moist crumbs as you add it to the beef in a mixing bowl. Beat the egg and add to the beef; season the meat with salt and pepper. Add the onion, spinach, garlic, feta, lemon zest and a drizzle of EVOO. Roll meatballs about 1 1/2 inches in size and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast the meatballs until medium brown and lightly crispy, 25-30 minutes. Add to the soup.

To serve, add the rice to the soup. If it’s too thick, dilute with water or stock. Serve in shallow bowls.