Holiday Soup (Mini Meatballs and Escarole)

Jan 7th

I’ve mentioned before that Christmas is a man’s holiday, and I’d like to offer up another example (as if you needed more reasons). If you are a man and you are reading this (and you help a lot at holidays and like to cook), then I need to tell you that I am big-time generalizing here. And you’re awesome. Husband, I know you don’t read my blog, but if you happen upon this post, know that while you don’t shop or cook at Christmas, you are generally helpful and great and I love you lots.

I make this soup every Christmas Eve. It was always made around the holidays at my house, by my mom. Christmas happenings usually involve gifts (shopped for and wrapped by a woman slash mom) and food shopped for and cooked (by a woman slash mom). I think sometimes people think the MORE gifts and the MORE food you buy, the more you love the people you are doing it for. This is silly, obviously, but I think it’s in the back of a lot of our minds. So here’s the traditional holiday soup – when it comes to this soup, the smaller you make the meatballs, the more you love your family. It’s true.

The tiny meatballs are just a given, so deal with it. What I love about this particular version, adapted from Ina Garden, is that once the tedious meatballs are done, the soup comes together in literally 10 minutes. Even better, the meatballs can be made and frozen weeks ahead!

It’s delicious and comforting in an indescribable way, and you shouldn’t wait for a holiday to make some. And if you want to sound Italian when you tell people what you’re making, you need to pronounce escarole like
“eskadole”. You sort of skip over “r” with a little tongue click.

Holiday Soup (Mini Meatballs and Escarole)

Serves 8

 Adapted from Ina Garten

Meatballs

1 medium onion, grated (first remove papery skin)

1/4 c. finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1 egg

2 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press

1 tsp. table salt

1 slice fresh soft bread (white or wheat, but no Ezekiel or 12 grain)

1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese

8 oz. ground beef (preferably 85/15)

8 oz. ground pork

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Soup

12 c. chicken broth

1 1/2 lb. escarole, chopped *

2 eggs

2 tbsp. parmesan cheese (plus extra for serving)

*You want to avoid using the tough white stem ends – use mostly the leaves.

1. To make meatballs, combine onion, parsley, egg, garlic, salt and bread in a medium mixing bowl.

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2. Add meat and cheese and mix with hands until uniformly combined.

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3. Line a baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper (or spray with nonstick spray).

4. Roll meatballs into tsp. sized balls. Place on prepared sheet. This is long and tedious and best done in front of a kitchen tv while any child you might have is napping.

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5. If making ahead, freeze meatballs on sheet then store in freezer in ziplock bag (flash freezing them individually on a cookie sheet will keep them from sticking in the bag).

6. To make soup, heat chicken broth until boiling. Add fresh or frozen meatballs and escarole and simmer until meatballs are cooked through and greens are tender (about 8 minutes).

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7. Whisk eggs and cheese in a small bowl. Add mixture to soup in a slow and steady stream, stirring gently with a fork to form into thin strands. Season soup with salt and pepper, if needed. Sorry – this action takes 2 hands and I couldn’t take a picture. The strands of cheesy eggy noodle type stuff forms immediately when it hits the hot broth – have no fear.¬†

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8. Serve, topped with parmesan cheese if desired.

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