Tag Archives: soup

Italian Wedding Soup

This Italian Wedding Soup made with chicken is light and healthy, but so delicious with buttery Parmesan and a bit of fresh lemon.

I’ve always imagined a wedding in an old Tuscan villa, nestled perfectly between green hillsides dotted with rows of grapevines and gardens. The bride, wearing the dress of her mother’s and her grandmother’s before her, dancing happily with her new husband and surrounded by their families. Cheering, laughing, drinking and eating. Eating Italian Wedding Soup—

Nope…

This soup has nothing to do with my dreamy wedding fantasy! I mean, it’s not even remotely romantic. Long ago, someone named this wedding soup to represent the marriage of meat and green vegetables. Sigh. You know I love food, but come on!

I have so many versions of this soup. My family loves them all, but after eating this one recently, my husband said this one was the best soup I’ve ever made! (I married a very smart man, you know!) I’ve adapted the traditional wedding soup by using ground chicken breast to lighten things up. You could make this with ground meat or sausage. You can add some small pasta like Acini de Pepe or some more veggies like carrots and celery. But, this simple version…is really wonderful. Because it’s so simple, the broth is so important. There are some soups you can get away with using canned broth. Not this one. Homemade broth makes this soup really special.

This Italian Wedding Soup made with chicken is light and healthy, but so delicious with buttery Parmesan and a bit of fresh lemon.

Italian Wedding Soup

1 egg
1/2 small onion, grated (about 1/3 C. grated)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/4 C. whole grain breadcrumbs
1/4 C. Parmesan, grated
1 – 2 T. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 lb. ground chicken breast

12 C. chicken or vegetable broth
1 lb. escarole, sliced
1 egg
2 t. Parmesan
black pepper
1 lemon, sliced in wedges

In a medium bowl, beat the egg. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan and parsley. Stir to combine. Add the ground chicken and stir again to mix well.

Place a large pot over high heat and add the chicken broth. Cover the pot and bring to a boil while you form the meatballs.

Using a one tablespoon cookie scoop or measuring spoon, scoop the mixture and level it completely against the side of the bowl. Release the scoop in your hand and roll into a meatball. Place the meatballs on a large dish or a baking sheet. Continue until the mixture is done. You should have about 36 or so meatballs. (See Notes for a great tip!)

Once the broth has come to a boil, gently drop the meatballs into the pot then add the escarole. Cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar and allow the broth to return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg, Parmesan and black pepper. Stream the mixture into the soup while whisking the broth to create threads of egg. Continue simmering for one or two more minutes.

Serve the soup in bowls with lots of freshly grated Parmesan and a wedge of lemon.

Serves 6.

Notes:

  • Escarole is one of my favorite healthy dark greens! It’s got a mild flavor, yet it’s got the nutritional impact that a lot of those more bitter dark greens have. Escarole is high in fiber, antioxidants and a fantastic source of Vitamins A and C.
  • I’m not terribly squeamish in the kitchen, but when working with ground poultry, I always use thin, food grade vinyl gloves for making chicken or turkey meatballs. The texture of ground poultry is vastly different than ground meat. It can be very sticky and hard to work with. The gloves completely solve that problem.
  • Don’t forget the lemon for serving! It makes all the difference!

 

This Italian Wedding Soup made with chicken is light and healthy, but so delicious with buttery Parmesan and a bit of fresh lemon.

Leek and Potato Soup

This soup is so creamy and delicious, but you'd never know it's actually very light and low in fat!

One of the things I love most about cooler weather is making big pots of soups. There is something so simple and comforting about it. It’s the whole process that appeals to me. Chopping, sautéing, simmering…it’s my zen. I’ll admit…I’m a complete food geek.

Leek and potato soup is so classic and has been done many times over. Leeks are like a really mild onion and pair nicely with the potato which gives body and a creaminess. I love creamy soups like this, but I don’t love the fat that usually comes with them. After some experimenting with different methods, I think I found a way to make you feel like this can’t possibly be low in fat! I use canned evaporated milk in place of the whole milk and heavy cream found in a lot of recipes. It’s a great substitute for cream. If you have reservations about using the canned evaporated milk, I’ll give you a recipe to make it yourself from home. It’s super easy…just a matter of simmering it down.

To me, one of the most important parts of simple soups like this one, is the garnish. This is my personal feeling…I’m saving so much in fat in the soup itself, I don’t feel the least bit badly about browning up some croutons in just a bit of browned butter to air drop into the hot soup. I love to hear that sizzle as it hits and taste that buttery crunch floating within. You don’t need a lot, just a few cubes create a nutty explosion. If that doesn’t do it for you…try grated cheese, chopped herbs like chives or parsley, crumbled bits of bacon or pancetta or just as is. Anyway you eat this, I think you’ll love it and be surprised at just how creamy it really is!

This soup is so creamy and delicious, but you'd never know it's actually very light and low in fat!

 

Leek and Potato Soup

1 T. butter, divided
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 to 4 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and sliced
1 C.dry white wine
1 large bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/5 lbs. (about 4) yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
6 C. vegetable or chicken broth
sea salt to taste if using homemade chicken broth
1 1/2 C. (12 oz.) low fat evaporated milk
black or white pepper

Special equipment: Immersion blender

In a large heavy pot over medium high heat, melt the butter then add the onions. Reduce the heat a bit and cook until onion just begins to soften. Add the leek and continue to soften without browning. As soon as the onions are translucent and the leeks have softened, increase the heat to medium high and add the white wine. Simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Add the bay leaf, thyme, potatoes and broth and cover. Bring the broth to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 45 minutes or until the leeks and the potatoes are tender.

Remove the pot from the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend until completey smooth and silky. Stir in the evaporated milk and season to taste with pepper.

Serve in bowls with your choice of garnish.

Serves about 8.

Notes:

  • For my crouton garnish, I melted about 2 T. of butter in a sauté pan and tossed 2 slices of cubed bread in and toasted until nice and brown and crisp. If you are using unsalted butter, give them a small pinch of sea salt. I also sprinkled a bit of fresh thyme leaves and finely diced red pepper…just because it’s pretty!
  • To make your own evaporated milk, simmer 3 cups of low fat milk in a saucepan over low heat on the stove until it has reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Do not boil the milk, just simmer it lightly.

 

This soup is so creamy and delicious, but you'd never know it's actually very light and low in fat!