I decided that this soup would be the basis of my saturday night dinner. But then I started reading the recipe. There were no onions. I always start my soup making by softening onions in oil or butter. So I figured I would start the way I always start, and add some onions. Then usually I add some white wine and let it reduce before adding the stock. Since I had some wine kicking around in the fridge, I decided I should fit this in too.
My mom has recently been making a similar soup to this, minus the meatballs, with kale and white beans. It's very tasty - and I had a can of cannellini beans. So I decided escarole was out, and kale and white beans were in.
Happily, after all my tinkering, it turned out extremely tasty. It was hearty and warming, but the carrot and kale gave it a nice freshness. The meatballs are perhaps a little ugly, but their delicious garlickiness made up for it. Paul and I had this with some onion rye bread, and finished off the evening with some apple crumbles.
I found I had more meatballs than I really wanted to put in the soup so I have frozen the rest for later.
Kale and Meatball Soup
for the meatballs - enough for about 45 meat balls
1 lb ground chicken
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup breadcumbs (I made mine from a garlic pita I had in the freezer)
1/4 Parmesan cheese (I used the cheap stuff)
2 tbsp water
salt and pepper
for the soup
8 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 cup chopped peeled carrots
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
4 cups coarsely chopped escarole (about 1/2 medium head)
14 oz can of cannelini beans
making the meatballs
1. Mix eggs and water in a medium sized bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Let sit about 5 mins.
2. Add ground chicken, mix well, without squishing or compressing things too much.
3. Form into 1 1/4 inch diameter balls. Let sit in the fridge at least 30 mins. (I made these in the morning.)
making the soup
1. Soften the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until the onion starts to get translucent, around 5-10 mins.
2. Add white wine and let reduce. Then add stock, bay leaf and carrots. Let simmer, covered, until the carrots are the softness you like to eat. For me, this takes about 15-20 mins.
3. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in a separate pot. Set aside.
4. Add the meatballs and beans and let simmer for 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the kale, and cook for another 5-7 mins. Serve topped with more Parmesan cheese