Chicken Soup with Ground Chicken Meatballs

Try Chuck Hughes’ comforting chicken meatball soup packed with great flavor.

Easy, Moderate, Complex

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: About 6 hours

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


  • For the chicken stock
    • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (45 ml)
    • Bones of 1 whole chicken
    • 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
    • 2 celery stalks, chopped
    • 2 medium size onions, chopped
    • 1 leek, chopped
    • 1 bulb of garlic, halved
    • 1/2 cup fresh dill (125 ml)
    • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (60 ml)
    • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 1 sprig rosemary
    • 1 tablespoon peppercorns (15 ml)
    • 24 cups water (6 l)
    • Salt, pepper
  • For the chicken meatballs
    • 1 pound of chicken meat, ground (450 g) or 4 chicken breasts
    • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
    • 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill (125 ml)
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil (15 ml)
    • 2 teaspoons salt (10 ml)
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (2 ml)
    • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (125 ml) soaked in 1/4 cup of milk (60 ml)
    • Freshly ground pepper
  • For the soup:
    • 2 carrots, finely chopped
    • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
    • 1 leek, finely chopped
    • 8 cups chicken stock (see above) (2 l)
    • chicken meatballs (see above)
    • 4 cups watercress (1 l)
    • 4 blackened chicken wings for garnish (from the blackened chicken recipe above)
    • ¼ cup fresh dill for garnish


  1. For the chicken stock: in a large stockpot heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium-high heat.  Add chicken bones, stir to coat them and cook for 5 minutes to brown. Add vegetables to stockpot along with herbs and peppercorns. Stir to mix, add the water and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 4 to 6 hours.  Strain and skim the fat. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. The stock will have reduced by half. Reserve.
  2. For the chicken meatballs: in a food processor combine the chicken breasts or ground chicken, red onion and garlic, blend for 2 minutes.  Add the dill, olive oil, salt, chili flakes and breadcrumb mixture.  Season with freshly ground pepper.  
  3. Using 1 teaspoon of ground chicken mixture, form small meatballs.  Reserve on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until ready to cook in the soup.
  4. For the soup: in a medium stockpot, cook vegetables in oil for about 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the stock and the chicken meatballs. Let simmer for about 15 minutes until the meatballs are cooked.  When ready to serve, divide the watercress in the bowls, add a ladle of chicken soup. Garnish with the chicken wings and fresh dill.

Note: Unused stock can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.