This slow cooker wonder produces flavorful, firm meatballs in a delicious soup that works great for a chilly night’s dinner.
2 slices high-quality white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
½ cup whole milk
1 pound meatloaf mix
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 large egg yolk
6 garlic cloves, minced
1½ teaspoons minced fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
Salt and pepper
1 onion, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
8 ounces kale, stemmed and leaves sliced ¼ inch thick
6 ounces orzo (about 1 cup)
1. Mash bread and milk into paste in large bowl using fork. Mix in meatloaf mix, Parmesan, parsley, egg yolk, 3 garlic cloves, oregano, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper using hands. Pinch off and roll mixture into tablespoon-size meatballs (30 to 35 meatballs total).
2. Microwave meatballs on large plate until fat renders and meatballs are firm, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour off fat and transfer meatballs to slow cooker.
3. Microwave onion, remaining 3 garlic cloves, oil, and red pepper flakes in bowl, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker.
4. Add broth to slow cooker. Cover and cook until meatballs are tender, 4 to 6 hours on low.
5. Let soup settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using large spoon. Stir in kale and orzo, cover, and cook on high until kale and orzo are tender about 20 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with additional Parmesan and olive oil.