Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Italian Wedding Soup

1 whole chicken
1 c. carrots, chopped *
1 c. celery, chopped
1 sm. onion, diced
Seasoned with 4-6 minced garlic cloves, 2 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tbls. parsley flakes, and 1/4 cup chicken soup base. (all are approximate – season to taste)
2 pkgs. chopped frozen spinach, thawed & well drained
1 (1 lb.) pkg. acini di pepe, cooled & drained OR ORZO
Meatballs (see below)

Clean chicken and put in pot with 8 quarts of water; simmer for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked and remove to cool enough to handle, remove meat from skin and bones. Add carrots, celery and onion to broth and cook. In the meantime, cut meat into bite-sized pieces and make meatballs.

1 1/2 lbs. ground round
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 c. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (or more)
1 c. bread crumbs
1 or 2 eggs (to create a moist but not runny)
Combine ingredients and make small meatballs (about 1/2 - 3/4 inch). Brown meatballs in a skillet. Drain and add meatballs to soup.

Add meatballs and simmer for another 30 minutes. Add spinach and chicken and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with acini di pepe and grated Parmesan cheese.

This soup is EXCELLENT! Everyone loved it!
The original recipe called for 1 pkg. 6 to 8 chicken wings + 2 chicken breasts. That would also be fine, but only using boneless chicken isn't a great substitute in any chicken soup recipe.
I usually add the pasta directly to the soup and then regret it when it all turns to hotdish the next day. It's better to keep the pasta separate and just add it to each bowl as it's served. (It just sucks up too darned much moisture as it sits around.)
*I almost always add more veggies than a soup recipe calls for. It's just nice to have more stuff in it, but you be the judge.

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