Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Italian Wedding Soup

I love Saturdays at my house.  Typically we sleep in, then I get up, pop some cinnamon rolls in the oven, and proceed to watch The Food Network all morning long.  I know, Heaven right!  Anyway, while I was watching this past Saturday one of the hosts were making Italian Wedding Soup.  I have to admit that I have never had this soup before, but it looked amazing and I knew I wanted to try it.  However, being a food blogger myself, I didn't want to hijack their recipe so I decided to do a little research of my own and create this dish using my touch and my kitchen.  This may not be a tradition "minestra maritata" (married soup), but these flavors definitely marry to make one hearty and delicious meal PERFECT for any fall table!  

Let me show you how I made it!

Italian Wedding Soup:
*Prep Time: 20 min. *Cook Time:  40 min.  *Difficulty: Easy  *Servings: 8-10


For the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1/2 c. Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1/4 c. Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Basil
  • 1 tsp. Parsley
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
For the Soup:
  • 8 c. Chicken Stock
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 3 Stalks of Celery, diced
  • 3 Carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp. Garlic, minced
  • 5 oz. Kale, washed and chopped
  • 15 oz. Can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 c. Dry White Wine
  • 1/2 c. Orzo
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Basil
  • 1 tsp. Parsley
  • 1/8 tsp. Turmeric
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
The first thing you will need to do in preparing this soup is make the meatballs.  
Obviously you can use frozen here, but I think that making them from scratch just makes the soup that much more special.

To a mixing bowl combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, egg, milk, garlic powder, parsley, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper.

Gently mix with your hands until everything is combined.
I will confess and tell you that this meatball mixture smelled so good, is was difficult to not try a bite

Next you will for the meatballs.
I like to use a cookie dough scoop, but if you do not have a cookie dough scoop, think golf ball in terms of size.  The recipe should yield between 24 and 27 meatballs.
This next step is completely up to you, but I feel that it help the browning step of the recipe go a little smoother.  I like to put these meatballs in the freezer for about 30 minutes.  It helps the meat to set and the meatballs to be easier to handle.

While your meatballs are in the freezer, you can chop up the rest of your veggies, measure out your ingredients, open your cans, whatever you need to do to help you along in your cooking.  Then, place a soup pot over medium/high heat and pour 3-4 tbsp. of oil in.  Allow the oil to get nice and hot.

Now you are ready to brown the meatballs.  I say brown because you will not be cooking these all the way through, just searing the outside.
I like to do them in 2 batches.  This way I don't crowd the pan, and I am able to get a nice crust.
2-3 minutes on each side will be perfect.

Remove the meatballs from the pan and set to the side on a plate.

Now to that same soup pot add the onions and celery.  Allow them to cook until they just start to soften.

Now add the carrots and garlic.
I cook these a little longer.  I like to get a little caramelization on my carrots.

At this point, if I am using dry, I like to add all of my spices to the pan.
I do this because I have no idea how long they have been sitting on that shelf in the grocery store and they made need a little waking up!
Add the Turmeric, Basil, Oregano, and Parsley to the pan.  Let this cook for just a minute or two.
I will say that turmeric is not a traditional spice used in Italian cooking, but I love using it in my chicken stock based soups for the beautiful, bright yellow color is gives.
In this quantity the impact on flavor will be minimal.

Here is where I add the white wine.
I love the bright flavor that it gives this soup, but if it bothers you simply leave it out.
Pour the wine into the pan and let it reduce by half.

 Now you can add the chicken stock,
Do you see how bright and yellow the turmeric makes the broth!?!
I love that!

Return the meatballs to the pot and...

Add the can of tomatoes.
Bring the pot to a boil, drop to a simmer, and cover.
Let the soup cook for 30 minutes.
What happens here is the meatballs will finish cooking and all of the flavor that you have built in this pot is going to come together or "marry" into one AMAZING pot of soup!!

After 30 minutes add the orzo to the pot and let simmer for another 9 minutes.

Once the orzo has cooked, add the kale to the pot and cook another 5 minutes.
Yes, I know, traditionally spinach is served in this soup, but I have this beautiful bunch of organic kale in my fridge so I thought "why not!"  I promise you, the kale will not disappoint.
Taste for seasoning, make and adjustments, and you are finished!

Look at that!
This soup is beautiful, vibrant, packed with flavor, and it is so good for you!
It is the perfect meal for one of these cold, rainy, autumn nights.  I know you and your friends and family are going to love this marriage of culinary delights, so get in the kitchen and try it TONIGHT!

As always...

Happy Reading, Happy Eating, and Happy Living,
~The Kitchen Wife~


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