Monday, January 2, 2012

Italian Loaded Vegetable Soup

Only the finest ingredients to compliment this soup, in addition to the escarole, use only the best grating cheese, fresh chicken stock, fresh diced tomatoes and homemade mini meatballs are what enhances the flavors in this soup. 

Escarole is a main staple in our home now and when I was growing up. We added escarole to many recipes, to include Upstate NY Utica Greens, where I was from those are famous there. Soup was the most popular use, but grandma use to also make Greens and White Beans over day old bread, another one of my Italian favorites. This soup hits the spot on a cool or blustery day up North. Wedding soup is very popular without the  mixed vegetables and beans this would be it!

Escarole Vegetable Soup
1 Chicken Broth Soup recipe ( click here for recipe)  use 3 to 4 quarts vegetable broth for a pure vegetable soup or (just use store bought chicken broth if you don't have time to make your own chicken soup broth)

1 head of cleaned chopped escarole boiled separately for a half hour to ensure its cleaned properly
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 cup chopped fennel
1 package of frozen mixed vegetables(corn, peas, green beans, carrots)
1 can of great northern white beans rinsed or use black, red kidney and kind you prefer
1 can chickpeas
1lb of diced fresh tomatoes ( or canned)
 1 teaspoon each oregano, basil, parsley, garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
To make a true vegetable soup you would omit the pasta and the meatballs.
 1 lb box of pasta (pastine of choice shown is acini de pepe and baby sea shells) (1/2 box boiled in salt water separately)

Optional meatballs below for a heartier soup for meat lovers:

1/2 pound ground chuck
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon grating cheese
mix all together and set aside

In a 5 to 8 quart sauce pot add water to fill about three inches below the top of the pan proceed by making chicken soup broth first. Strain the broth to take out any impurities you may add the chicken pulled off the bone or use that for chicken salad if you want just a vegetable soup broth. Chicken broth is very low in calories and make a good base for the soups flavor.  Place all the canned and packaged vegetables in the pot along with tomatoes, fennel, celery etc,  everything except the cheese and pasta.( If using meatballs. Drop raw meatballs into boiling soup to cook.) Add the escarole and simmer until all vegetables are tender around 1 hour or more. Cook pasta at this point if using separately, add at this point.  Ladle into bowls and top with grating cheese. Delicious served with garlic bread to dunk with!
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