White bean escarole soup with turkey meatballs
White bean escarole soup with turkey meatballs is a healthy, hearty, flavorful meal – perfect for a cold winter’s evening.
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Make the meatballs: Beat the egg in a large bowl. Stir in bread crumbs, then add Parmesan, garlic, parsley, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and mix thoroughly with a fork. Using wet hands, form turkey meatballs, 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter. (NOTE: The wet hands are crucial – the mixture is wet and slightly sticky, and wet hands means it will stick less to you. The meatballs will not be perfectly, beautifully round. Get over it.) Place meatballs on a wax paper-lined plate or platter as you form them. Place in freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to help them hold together better during cooking.Skip to next paragraph
Terry Boyd is the author of Blue Kitchen, a Chicago-based food blog for home cooks. His simple, eclectic cooking focuses on fresh ingredients, big flavors and a cheerful willingness to borrow ideas and techniques from all over the world. A frequent contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times, his recipes have also appeared on the Bon Appétit and Saveur websites.
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Heat a large skillet over medium flame (see Kitchen Note). Add 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil and brown turkey meatballs on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes, working in 2 batches. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Make the soup: Rinse the escarole leaves thoroughly and slice crosswise into 1-inch strips, discarding the very bottoms of the leaves. Set aside. Heat a stockpot over medium flame. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook diced carrot until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and sage and cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add escarole, wine, broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in meatballs. Reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don’t be alarmed at the volume – the escarole will gradually cook down. Stir in the cannellini beans and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Plate in individual bowls and top with grated Parmesan. Serve with a crusty bread.
Make it a one-pot meal. Cooking the meatballs in a skillet is an easy, don’t-burn-your-knuckles approach. I used a heavy, copper Dutch oven to cook my soup, though, and browned the meatballs in the Dutch oven instead of a separate skillet. While a little trickier to accomplish (Blue Kitchen lived up to its name as I did it), I had one less pan to wash. And there were nice browned bits to be scraped up when I added the broth, adding more flavor to the soup.
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