Sunday, November 8, 2009

Italian Wedding Soup (Chicken and Escarole Soup)

This recipe is the real deal. The recipe my Italian mothers family would make.  It has been made and passed along for generations now. This recipe traces back straight to Italy and my mothers very strongly Italian background. This is her family recipe and we like to enjoy it for special occasions.



Broth Base and Chicken:
1 whole chicken (4 pounds)
12 cups Water
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon Salt
1 large onion (quartered)
2 Carrots (large chopped)
Celery (large chopped)
2 Garlic Cloves


Meatballs:
2 garlic cloves
1/2 onion, chipped finely
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 pounds ground meat (1 lb. beef, 1 lb. pork)
1 egg
1/4 cup Parsley Leaves (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Romano Cheese
3/4 teaspoon Salt
2 slices of bread (pureed to crumb)
1/3 cup milk

Soup:
12 cups of Chicken Stock
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 cup onion (diced small)
1 cup celery stalks (diced small)
1 cup carrots (diced small)
1 small Head escarole, cut into 1/2 inch strips (no stems)
      alternate spinach for those who can not get escarole
2 eggs
1/4 cup Romano Cheese
any small pasta (I used orzo) - OPTIONAL

In 8 quart Dutch oven or sauce pot combine chicken, 12 cups water, peppercorns, salt and vegetables; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until chicken is tender. Alternatively you can put it all in the crock pot for 8 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare meatballs. Saute onion, garlic and olive oil in a saute pan until vegetables are soft and fragrant.  In a large bowl, with hands, combine ground meat, garlic, egg, parsley, pepper, salt, cheese.  In small bowl, mix bread and milk to form thick paste. Mix bread mixture into meat mixture just until blended. Add cooked and cooled vegetables. Shape meatball mixture into 1-inch meatballs.

Remove chicken to bowl, cool completely until easy to handle. Discard skin and bones from chicken and dice chicken meat into bite sized pieces. Reserve 2 cups chicken. Reserve remaining chicken for use another day. Pour chicken broth through sieve lined with paper towels into large clean pot or bowl. Let sit a few minutes until fat separates from meat juice. Skim fat from broth and discard. (I typically use a crock pot to cook chicken day before I plan to serve soup. This way I can put the broth in the fridge and remove fat easier.)

Return broth to clean Dutch oven or sauce pot. Add pasta if using and heat to a simmer. Saute carrots, celery and onion in olive oil until softened and fragrant. Return vegetables to simmering broth. 15 more minutes until pasta is cooked and vegetables are tender. Add meatballs; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Stir in Escarole and reserved chicken; heat through. Scramble egg with remaining 1/4 Romano cheese and stir into hot broth to form ribbons.

Serve with grated Romano cheese to sprinkle over each serving.



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