Vegetable Soup with Spicy Meatballs
3 T. oil, divided
1 lb spicy pork sausage
1 egg, beaten
1 medium onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups tomato juice
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-in pieces
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 bunch collard greens, cut into 1-in pieces
1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1. Heat 2 T. oil over medium high heat in a large dutch oven. In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix egg and pork sausage. Form into meatballs, roughly 2 inches in size and set on a plate.
2. Place half of the meatballs in hot dutch oven, cooking until well-browned, about 2 minutes. Carefully turn over and brown the opposite side. Set aside. Repeat with rest of meatballs.
3. Add remaining oil to dutch oven and turn heat down to medium. Place onion and bell pepper in pot, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds, stirring to incorporate and prevent burning. Pour in chicken broth and tomato juice. Bring to a simmer.
4. Carefully add zucchini, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, collard greens, thyme, bay leaves and browned meatballs. Stir to combine, being careful not to break up meatballs. Simmer, cover and cook until meatballs register 170 degrees, about 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve.