Meatball and Escarole Soup

If you love meat as much as you love vegetables, you have to try this delicious soup, which perfectly marries the two flavours (that’s why it is sometimes also nicknamed as “wedding soup”).
As usual there can be so many different variations: some use pasta or rice, or even beans; most of them have meatballs. Pork works perfectly for the meatballs, but feel free to use any kind of meat (even turkey, or a mix of beef and pork, why not!) as pretty much every kind goes well perfectly with escarole: it is part of the endive family, but slightly less bitter, can be used in fresh salad too.

serves 5-6

  • 1 pound ground pork (beef or chicken may work as well)
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese (a little more for serving)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg (or 2 medium ones) slightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup finely diced onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or grated
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 head fresh escarole (rinsed) chopped and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 8 cups chicken broth

Make the meatballs:

  • Place the minced pork, breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder and salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and carefully mix all ingredients until evenly blended.
  • Line a rimmed sheet pan with cling film or aluminium foil
  • Form small meatballs shaping them with your hands (You should have about 20-25 small meatballs )
  • refrigerate for about 25 minutes.

for the soup

  • Heat a large heavy pot over medium heat with some olive oil
  • Place half the meatballs and saute until they get golden brown.
  • Carefully roll them around so to cook them evenly on all sides.
  • Remove to a plate, and repeat the first three steps with the rest of the meatballs
  • Remove the meatballs. Do not wipe out the pot.
  • Add some more olive oil and add onions and carrots, then gently saute for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and simmer a couple more minutes.
  • Add the escarole and cook over a medium heat, often turn the vegetables, until they soften a little
  • pour in the chicken broth and slowly put back meatballs into the pot.
  • keep stirring and simmer, then cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes
  • Taste and adjust for seasoning (black pepper should be abundant)
  • Serve piping hot with a nice topping of parmesan cheese.

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