Escarole Soup

Quite a few people have asked me (in a roundabout way) what I cooked for meals for my family.  I guess most of my blog posts are either breads or pastries so naturally people start to wonder if I have time to cook decent meals for my family!  Kind of funny if you think about it!  I either whip out recipes from my “tried and tested” recipe files, or cook what I’ve been cooking for many years (my version of certain dishes, Korean/Japanese foods,etc), and sometimes I make a lot in quantity so we can eat for few days (plus I pack my husband’s lunches so I need to make extra anyways). 

Today’s recipe comes from my most recent (December issue) of Saveur (sorry, no link yet, I guess it’s too recent).  This is another dish for working moms!!  You can do a lot of prepping the night before, when you come back from work, it’ll probably take you about 30 minutes and the dinner will be ready. 

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Serves 8-10:

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumb (regular bread crumb is fine too)
1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus more
1/2 cup grated pecorino
1/2 cup olive oil (divided into 1/4 cup each)
1 Tablespoon dried Italian seasoning (I usually mix oregano, basil and thyme)
4 cloves of garlic (3 thinly sliced, and 1 minced)
3 medium onions (2 thinly sliced, and 1 minced)
1 small bunch parsley, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 large heads escarole, cored and cut into 2 inch pieces
8 cups chicken stock (2 containers of chicken stock, you can easily substitute this with vegetable stock)
Cooked white rice, for serving

Mix beef, bread crumbs, parmesan, pecorino, 1/4 cup oil, seasoning, minced garlic and minced onion, parsley, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Form into 1 to 1-1/2 inch meatballs, chill.
(You can make this the night before – either make them into meatballs or keep in the bowl and make into meatballs when you make soup the next day).
**You can either chop the escaroles the night before or buy chopped escaroles; if you buy the chopped kind, you probably need about 3 bags. 

Heat remaining oil in an 8 quart saucepan over medium high heat.  Add sliced garlic and onions; cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. 

Add escarole, cook until wilted, about 6 minutes.  Add stock, boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low. 

Add meatballs; cook until meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve over rice; top with more parmesan and black pepper. 

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My opinion:   Escarole is my new fave vegetable!!  It’s packed with  awesome nutrients (it’s low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It’s also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a great source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.)

Other than all these benefits, it tastes wonderful, and especially in this soup it spells C-O-M-F-O-R-T!!  The combination of escarole in soup with meatballs (by the way, much much better than Italian wedding soup meatballs), cheese and rice are such winning combination!!  I made this soup twice already!!

As I said before, you can prep a lot of this the night before.  Once you start to cook the ingredients it should take about 30 minutes (make sure that you cook the rice in advance)!! 

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