Friday, January 27, 2012

Italian Escarole, Bean and Meatball Soup

I watch a lot of cooking shows because I love to keep learning as much as I can about cooking and ingredients. One ingredient (of many) that I have seen and never tried was escarole.  Escarole is a leafy green that is related to the Endive family and works great in soups.  So when I saw a beautiful bunch of escarole at my gocery store I knew I had to take my chance to try it out and use it in a soup.  This is an Italian style soup that I rounded out with some cannelleni beans and ground chicken meatballs.  I made this for lunch on a cold winter's day and it made a perfectly satisfying meal for the veggie and meat lovers. Throw in some crusty bread and you have a meal that would make anyone happy.

For the meatballs:
1lb ground chicken
2 slices of bread soaked in 1/4 cup of milk and crumbled
1tsp dried basil
1tsp dried oregano
1tsp dried parsley
red chili flakes (to taste)
seasoning salt to taste
2 cloves of grated garlic
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese

Directions for meatballs:
Mix all ingredients together and make your favorite size meatballs. Heat 2Tbs of canola oil in your soup pot on medium high heat and brown the outside of the meatballs until golden brown. Then remove the meatballs from the pan to start making the soup.

Ingredients to make the soup:
1 leek(optional)
1 medium onion
1tsp dried basil
1tsp dried oregano
1tsp dried parsley
red chili flakes to taste
seasoning salt to taste
3 cloves of grated garlic
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
4 cups of water
4 cups of chicken stock
1lb of chopped escarole
1 (15oz) can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans

In the oil leftover from browning the meatballs, add your chopped onions and leeks.   Saute for a few minutes. Then add your chili flakes and garlic and saute for another minute.

Next add dried basil, oregano and seasoning salt and saute for 30 seconds.  Then add the chicken stock and water.  Bring soup to a boil.

Add your chopped escarole and the cannellini beans and browned meatballs. Boil for 5 minutes and allow the meatballs to finish cooking.  When they are floating in the pot, they are cooked.
In the last few minutes of cooking and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.  Stir well and taste for seasoning. If you soup is saltier than you like, because of the Parmesan, add a little more water.   Serve hot and Enjoy. You can also serve it with bread, over rice or pasta.

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