1 (3 to 4-pound) whole chicken, cleaned and gutted
4 quarts water
2 pounds beef bones, in 1 1/2-inch thick pieces
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
2 stalks celery with leaves, inner pieces from the bunch peeled of outer skin, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 onion, peeled, halved and sliced 1/2-inch thick
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 small bunch fresh thyme, washed and tied with string
2 fresh bay leaves
1/2 pound ground veal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tablespoons tofutti sour cream
Few basil leaves, snipped small with scissors
1/2 cup bread crumbs, toasted
3 cups loosely packed spinach leaves, washed
Soup: Season the chicken with salt, to taste, and push the 2 cloves into 1 of the chicken thighs. Add it to a large stockpot, cover with about 4 quarts water and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Meanwhile, season the beef bones with salt and brown them in a cast iron pan with the canola oil, searing them over medium heat. Add them to the pot with the chicken (you can omit this step but it does add flavor to the soup). To the pan that the bones were seared in, over medium heat, add the carrots, celery and onion and toss until they are coated in oil (if you omitted the step before, just cook the vegetables for 5 minutes in oil). Add the thyme and bay leaves to the stockpot along with the sautéed vegetables. Bring the soup to a gentle simmer and skim the surface with a ladle. Discard any oil or “scum” that accumulates. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, not too much, and lower the heat to finish cooking the chicken slowly.
Meatballs: Put the ground veal into a medium bowl. Add the salt, garlic, tofutti sour cream, basil, egg and breadcrumbs. Use your hands to mix to blend the ingredients. Roll the veal into small meatballs. They should be about the size of a small cherry tomato. Arrange the meatballs in a single layer on a baking sheet and refrigerate.
After about 45 minutes at a gentle simmer, taste the chicken soup and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Use a large spoon and a pair of tongs to remove the chicken to a baking sheet or other flat surface and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Remove the beef bones and scoop out the marrow. Add it to the soup, if desired. Remove and discard the fresh thyme and bay leaves. Take the breast and thigh meat off the chicken, taking care to discard the bones and skin. Break the chicken into bite-size pieces, but not too small, and add them back to the soup.
Bring the soup to a gentle simmer and add the meatballs. Allow it to continue simmering for a couple of minutes so the meatballs have a chance to cook. Stir in the spinach. Transfer the soup to serving bowls and serve with garlic toasts.