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a two-week soup

Weeks ago, I was craving soup — one with a clear broth, but one that was also hearty enough to satisfy as a meal. After a quick search on Epicurious, I found a recipe for meatball soup. The same night, I eagerly sought out ingredients for the soup at the supermarket. The recipe called for escarole, but I couldn’t find any, so I decided to substitute with kale instead. (Kale has a slight bitterness to it. It is another one of those leafy green veggies that get a lot of use during the winter months, and can be found sitting beside the mustard greens and swiss chard.) With my kale, ground beef, and carrots in tow, I happily anticipated making the soup the next day.

A week passed, and no meatball soup in sight. (Don’t worry, the ground beef was kept in the freezer.) Then I thought I could make it easier for myself by splitting the work into two parts. I could always make the meatballs first, then freeze them. With the meatballs already rolled, making the soup should be a breeze.

Week 2: Meatballs from week 1, but still no meatball soup. Looking into the fridge, I saw that the kale was limp and on the verge of shriveling. The carrots weren’t getting any younger, either.

Well, I guess you know what happened next.

Meatball Soup
(I made some changes to the recipe on Epicurious)

Ingredients:
1/3 bunch of kale, chopped into 2″ pieces
1/3 onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped on the bias
6 cups chicken broth, plus 6 cups water
mini meatballs (see recipe below)
5 oz mini shells
grated parmesan cheese

Meatballs:
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup very finely minced onion
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground pepper, to taste

Combine the ground meat, bread crumbs, cheese, onion, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Shape the mixture into tiny balls, less than 1 inch in diameter.

Assembly:
Cook onions in olive oil until tender and translucent. Add chicken broth and water, and bring to a boil. Add kale and simmer for 15 minutes. Toss in the carrots and simmer for another 10 minutes. When the kale is almost tender, stir in the pasta and return the soup to a simmer. Drop the meatballs into the soup. Cook over low heat, stirring gently, until the meatballs and pasta are cooked, about 25 minutes.

italian meatball soup

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