Sunday, April 5, 2009

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian wedding soup
I really want to be out planting, but it is a rare cold day in April in Oklahoma. It is supposed to freeze so I have to wait to plant. Instead I am making Italian Wedding Soup or Minestra Maritata. Historically it has nothing to do with weddings but is the marriage of meat and vegetables. It is the perfect soup for a cold day.

My mother made wedding soup for special occasions while I was growing up and I did not have the appreciation for the soup that I do now. It does take awhile to make (in part because I make my chicken broth from scratch). I think it makes a big difference with this soup (I always think that
homemade chicken broth make a difference and is worth the extra time).

All the ingredients for a great broth
Chicken Broth

To make the chicken broth, I take chicken quarters (I really like Smart Chicken) and cover them with chicken broth and water. I throw in some celery, onion, carrots, garlic, salt, pepper, and cook for about 45 minutes then remove the chicken, celery onion and carrots from the broth. The chicken can be used in another recipe.

The meatballs are ready for the soup

  • 2 lbs (1 kg) of Beef (or a mixture of beef and pork)
  • 2 Slices of White Bread with Crust Soaked in 3/4 Cup (180 ml) of Milk
  • 1 Large Egg, Beaten
  • 1-2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Tsp of Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp of Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup (57g) Parmesan Cheese, Grated
  • 1/3 Cup  (20 g) Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped
Mix all of the ingredients together and shape into meatballs (use about 1 1/2 teaspoons- it should be about the size of a large pecan). Some people bake their meatballs before adding them to the soup so that they brown. I don't but you certainly can. (Trust me on the milk soaked bread). I use about half of the recipe in the soup and the remainder I bake (at 400 F/ 204 C for 20 minutes turning once-- these meatballs should be the size of a large walnut) and use in other recipes or freeze.

The Soup

At last it is time to make the soup. Into the chicken broth I add a package of frozen chopped spinach, 1/3 cup (20 g) of chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley, and the meatballs. At this point you may want to add more salt and pepper. Simmer until the spinach and meatballs are cooked about 8-10 minutes. In a separate bowl whisk two eggs and 1/2 cup  (57 g) of Parmesan cheese. Stir the soup in a circular motion and slowly add the egg cheese mixture to the moving soup. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper and serve. You can always add more shredded Parmesan cheese to the top of the soup (I do).
Enjoy the soup and stay warm.

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