REVISED ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP!

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TODAYS SOUP!
REVISED ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP
Here we are in the middle of winter and temperatures are teeth-chattering cold, especially during the months of January and February. I’ve been posting “A SOUP A DAY” for seven days to help keep us warm. Soup is good for your digestion and gut health and helps to support your immune function. With all seven of the soups I will be posting this week, you will be eating a rainbow. The soups are filled with colors, green, orange, and red, and contain calcium, potassium, iron magnesium, Vitamin B-complex, A, C, and K! Enjoy a hot bowl of soup for lunch, snack, or dinner!
When I was a little girl growing up in Cleveland, Ohio those bone-chilling days were so cold the color of my nose was Rudoph red from Thanksgiving until late April. My Nona would make soups all the time, our house smelled like it for 5 months. The one soup I hated was Italian wedding soup, yes, I hated it. It was a bit too oily for my young palate and those teeny brown meatballs laying at the bottom of the bowl with of all things spinach floating around, (who likes spinach when your 5?)  were like eating erasers. Yuck. Okay, enough of that. I loved the idea of putting meatballs in anything but I just flat out REFUSED to eat it! I fought this battle at least once a week until I was 10 and was starting to show signs of how serious I was about cooking and creating recipes. I started really young coming up with ideas on making dishes beautiful and actually tasted good! I was good at it and I knew it. Do I defy years of tradition and change things up! Yes of course I did!
Whenever I knew Italian Wedding soup night was around the corner I would always suggest we needed to come up with an idea to make the meatballs lighter, bigger, fluffier, and actually had flavor! Since my poppa was a butcher and he made his own sausages I suggested we make the meatballs with a combination of sausages and ground chicken. Now years later I changed it to chicken sausage and ground chicken to make the meatballs. Instead of dropping them in the soup raw, I bake them in the oven to bring out the flavors of all the ingredients.

ROASTED CHICKEN STOCK

I love the full-bodied flavor of roasted chicken stock and using the bones from the chicken carcass gives the stock a deep rich chicken flavor. You can use it for many dishes including gravies, braising liquid, risotto, quinoa, pasta and even to boil potatoes. The soup will keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator and 6 months in the freezer.

ROASTED CHICKEN STOCK

Yields 2-1/2 quarts

6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS

1- 4 to 5-pound store-bought Roasted Chicken

2 yellow onions skins on cut into quarters

6 scallions chopped in half

5 garlic cloves smashed skins on

½ bunch of Italian parsley

4 large carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks

8 pieces of celery ribs with tops chopped in chunks

1-tablespoon kosher salt

6 peppercorns

1-tablespoon cumin

3 quarts of water

1/2 lemon

INSTRUCTIONS

Separate the meat and skin from the bones of the chicken. Place the bones and skin in a stockpot add the onions, scallions, garlic, parsley, carrots, celery, salt, peppercorns, cumin, and water and lemon. On high heat bring the stock to a rolling boil, turn the heat down to a low boil for 2 hours. Strain the soup through a calendar and place it back into the stockpot.  Let the soup sit on the counter for 30 minutes and skim off the fat that has risen to the top. Correct seasoning by adding more salt if necessary.

Place chicken meat into a container and place it in the refrigerator. You can use the chicken meat for sandwiches, chicken salad, enchiladas, tacos.

While the soup is cooling MAKE THE CHICKEN SAUSAGE MEATBALLS

CHICKEN SAUSAGE MEATBALLS

3 Chicken sausages skin casings removed

3/4 pounds of organic ground chicken

1/2 cup Gluten-Free PANKO FLAKES

1 clove of garlic minced
1 egg lightly beaten
3 tablespoon of fresh Italian parsley chopped finely
3 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving

Pinch of kosher salt (1/8 tsp). and freshly ground black pepper (1/8 tsp.)

1-1/2 cups baby spinach, set aside

12 chives set aside

1/4 cup fresh dill pulled from stems

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set it aside.

  1. For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, panko flakes,  garlic, egg, parsley, milk,  parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan,  salt, pepper in a bowl and gently combine with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop a 1-inch meatball onto a sheet pan. They do not have to be perfect just drop them on the sheet! They will bake up fine!  Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Place soup bowls into the oven to warm. When ready to serve, bring the soup up to a low boil add the meatballs, and simmer for 3 minutes. Correct seasoning adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Add the fresh spinach.
Remove bowls from the oven with oven mitts. Ladle soup into the bowls and make sure each serving has a least 3 meatballs. Sprinkle each serving with extra Parmesan cheese and garnish with two pieces of chives and scatter on the fresh dill.
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