Sunday, January 11, 2009

Italian Wedding Soup

Every winter it seems I buy can after can of Progresso Chickarina and Italian Wedding Soup. I love the stuff - they both taste so good and have a respectful amount of protein, and a nice low calorie count.

My quest this past week was to make a delicious soup - similar to Chickarina and Italian Wedding. I kept thinking that if I liked them so much canned, how heavenly would they be if they were home made? Ooh, and an added bonus is that I can lower the sodium count. FYI: one can of Progresso Chickarina has a whopping 2,000 grams of sodium! Ouch!

It took two soup-making attempts, but I ended up with the most awesome soup. I dare say it is perfection in a bowl, and the perfect food for a cold, snowy day .

My first try was good, not great. I decided that I would use a beef-pork mixture. I used 16 oz. beef and 4 oz. pork.

While the soup was good, I couldn't understand, why my fingers swelled like little sausages every time I ate it. One morning I couldn't even put on my wedding rings!

It turns out that I just wasn't thinking. I had used canned chicken broth, and I'm guessing it was loaded with sodium. Also, even though I went with more beef than pork, I could feel a light film of fat on my lips after eating it. And hey, it's the new year, and it's time to make up for that holiday eating. But if you don't have a problem with the beef/pork mixture, then that is the more traditional way to do it and it does have great flavor as well.

But I need to watch my fat intake, so I went back to the drawing board today and decided to lighten it up with turkey meatballs. And I would improve the flavor and have better control over the sodium if I made my own broth this time.

While rolling out the little meatballs, I was worried that I had over-done it with the egg plus the egg white. The consistency of the raw meatballs was so different when made with ground turkey as opposed to beef and pork. They were sort of sticky as I was rolling them in the palms of my hands. I added some extra panko bread crumbs, but I stopped at 2/3 cup and hoped for the best. And the best I did have!

I love this soup! I know that I will make it every winter from this day forward.

Italian Wedding Soup

One recipe of Home Made Chicken Broth
4 large diced carrots (I prefer a small dice for this recipe)
1 small head of escarole (only the tender leafy parts - I removed the tougher parts for this recipe)

For The Meatballs:
1 (20.8 ounce) package of ground turkey
1 small onion, grated
1 egg + 1 egg white
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp pepper

Mix all of the meatball ingredients with your hands! Don't be afraid, just delve right in. Once all the ingredients are spread evenly throughout the mixture. Put a little splash of water on your palms and take very small amounts in the palm of your hand and make many little meatballs. The water will keep the mixture from sticking to your palms. I found it much easier to work that way. Here's mine:

Once all the meatballs are rolled, put them into the soup raw. As you add the meatballs, add 4 chopped carrots.

Crumble about half the chicken meat from when you made the broth into the soup. I felt that adding all of it was too much. I saved the other half and hope that it's good for chicken salad!

Cook the pasta half way separately in a different pot. Add it to the soup pot.

At the end, add the leafy parts of the escarole. Cook two minutes more so that the escarole wilts.

Serve with Parmesan cheese and perhaps a nice hunk of crusty bread!

Italian Wedding Soup (with turkey meatballs)

Every winter it seems I buy can after can of ...

See Italian Wedding Soup (with turkey meatballs) on Key Ingredient.


Lisa said...

Oh man that looks good! I love me some Italian Wedding Soup! Thanks for the recipe!

Frank said...

Meryl, bring me some of that soup, ya hear?

Justine said...

By far one of my favorite type of soups. If I see it when I'm out, I always get some : )

maggie said...

Yum. This looks perfect for the stock I have in the freezer! Thanks for the recipe!

recipes2share said...

I haven't heard of this soup before and it both looks and sounds amazing - I am making so many soups at the moment, so think I shall give this a try. Thank you!

Meryl said...

Let me know if you like it, Fiona!

Foodycat said...

I haven't heard of this before - I think you must be able to get a lot of canned soups in the US that we can't get here. But your version looks so tasty! I love the variations you made to health it up.

deb said...

gorgeous photos! and amazing-looking soup. i'll be making some of this very soon. yum! thanks for posting this.

Sara said...

My mom is always looking for Italian wedding soup. I will have to make this for her.

Aggie said...

This is definitely a favorite soup of your photography!!

Rachel said...

MMMmmmm MMMMmmmm good! That looks might tasty!

Kevin said...

Great way to use that homemade stock! The soup looks really good!

Amber said...

YUMMM! I am always buying cans of this stuff for work lunches but would love to try some home made! My fingers started to swell (in my head of course!) while reading your funny!