For our family, Thanksgiving is much like every other family. Turkey, sweet and mashed potatoes, cranberries -- but with an Italian twist. The meal begins with Escarole soup, followed by antipasto, pasta, usually ravioli, Italian hot and sweet sausage, meatballs, bracciole, and loaves of crusty bread. Not until the first round of dishes are finally removed, do the traditional turkey and fixings appear. After a brief intermission, which involved a few loads of dishwashing, coffee is served alongside various cakes, pies, and pastries. Lastly, when you think you could not eat another bite, in came the bowls of fresh fruits and roasted chestnuts.
This soup can be made in stages, in advance, and then put together easily before serving. You can make this a long, laborious task or quick and easy, using canned or frozen goods -- canned or homemade soup; frozen versus homemade meatballs; frozen vice fresh carrots; you can even substitute frozen chopped spinach for escarole.
1 Large or 2 Medium Heads of Escarole (Clean very well)
8 Cups Chicken broth
24 mini-sized meatballs or Cut up Large meatballs into bite-size pieces
2 Eggs beaten with 2 Large Tablespoons of Italian Cheese (Locatelli is my preference, but Parmesan will be fine) Optional, but recommended
2 Cups thinly sliced carrots (optional)
1 Cup of shredded chicken (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
No nutrition information available
Wash the escarole very well, sometimes three to four times, then drain (this is the most time-consuming part). Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then place the escarole in for about 5 minutes, drain well, and set aside. It will shrink in size considerably. When cooled, chop into bite-size pieces. You can package and freeze it at this point.
When you are ready to make the soup, defrost escarole and drain it again (if required), pour the chicken soup in large pot and bring to a boil. Add escarole, carrots, and meatballs, lower to medium low and simmer for approximately 20 minutes until escarole and carrots are tender (you can substitute 16oz. frozen spinach and 16 oz. frozen carrots, then cook until tender).
After twenty minutes, beat eggs and cheese mixture together, bring soup back up to a rolling boil, then drizzle the egg mixture slowly into the soup while gently stirring. A fork works well when doing this.
Now your soup is ready for serving. I suggest placing a small bowl of grated cheese on the table for guests to add if they desire.
Variations: Add small cooked pasta (acne di pepe or pastina) and/or a can of cannellini beans at the end.