Butternut Squash with Pork Meatball Soup

There are simple pleasures in life.  Many of which revolve around little beauties.  Those uninhibited, rarely captured (well, with Instagram it would seem everything is) moments.  In my struggle of perpetual anxiety, I need these gems to pull out & lay the table with, in order to remind me that everything is a gift if only I'm willing to receive it as such.  

Yesterday as Caprice took a decent morning nap, Cadence and I cleaned up a bit and enjoyed a quiet moment together.  I'm not a home decorator in the least.  However, I do have an eye for beauty.  Words from wise women in my life is to realize how when we bring beauty to the metaphorical or literal table of our lives, we can find goodness there.  

In so doing, I laid out my goodwill creme tablecloth find, smoothed out the edges.  I pulled out the solitary purple lilac china dish for Cadence to place her dried fruit & almonds in.  Heated up the kettle for tea and coffee.  Lit the candles and placed them in the middle of the table to give notice to be fully present.  I found beauty in that shared moment with my girl, if only for a small bit before Caprice awoke.  

This soup is like that, simple but rich.  It doesn't require anything else to bring to the table.  Veronica boasts of it's healing powers, more like it's filling tummy powers.  It reminds me that amidst the cold winter days ahead, the anxiety that can creep in, I can nourish myself and my family at the table with simplistic beauty in a pot.  

Butternut Squash with Pork Meatballs Soup (printable recipe)

I hear people save time with buying pre-cut butternut squash.  So, do yourself and your loved ones a favor by doing that if it's your tipping point in making the soup.  They'll thank you for it!

Ingredients:

2 lbs ground pork, pastured is your best option, bring to room temperature about 30 minutes

1 - 2 Tb minced fresh sage

2 Tb sea salt

2 eggs, large room temperature

1 cup blanched almond flour

2 Tb coconut oil, olive oil or butter

1/2 cup shallots, medium dice

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes

5 cups water

1 Tb kosher salt or sea salt

1 Tb fresh finely minced sage

grinding of black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper of foil.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the ground pork, 1-2 Tb minced fresh sage, 2 Tb sea salt, eggs & cup of almond flour--use your very clean hands to mix it, because really there's no better way.  After you've completely combined the ingredients together, the meat should feel slightly wet, but not overly wet.  Form the meat into 1-1 1/2 Tb size meatballs using your hands to roll them.  

Place them on the lined pan.  Bake them for 20-25 minutes.  They should be slightly brown on the top.  

While the meatballs are baking, begin the base of the soup.  I use my trusty dutch oven, but really any large soup pot will work.  Heat the coconut or olive oil over medium low heat.  Allow it to warm up for a minute (depending on your range temperature).  Add the diced shallots and cook stirring throughout, in order to achieve nice translucent shallots (approximately 3-4 minutes).  Add in the cubed butternut squash and stir around.  Cook without liquids for about 1 minute, then add the water.  Be sure to scrape up the shallots to incorporate into the liquid.  Turn up heat to medium heat.

Once the meatballs are done baking remove from oven and be careful as they are hot when you transfer them to the pot.  If you want to avoid this, unlike me, allow them to cool to the point of handling them without toasting your fingers (but what's the fun in that?).  You'll notice some meat film around the meatballs.  With your fingers, remove it and leave it on the pan and put the non-filmy meatball into the pot.  Hit repeat on all of them.

Stir the soup together.  Turn the heat down to medium low and allow the pork to release those extra yummy juices.  Cover it and cook for 20 minutes, or till you can pierce the butternut squash with a fork easily.  Add the 1 Tb of kosher or sea salt.  Taste & season with more salt if you like.  Add some freshly ground pepper and just before serving, sprinkle with the 1 Tb of freshly minced sage.