Escarole Soup with Mushrooms & Little Meatballs

Celebrate National Meatball Day (Monday, March 9th) and Women’s History Month (March) in one fell swoop with this recipe from venerable James Beard award-winning chef and cookbook author (and Top Chef Masters contestant and restaurateur, among other things) Jody Adams. Her brothy escarole soup with mushroom and little meatballs is well-suited to the not-quite-winter-but-also-not-quite-spring weather, with hearty umami from the mushrooms and extra substance from the meatballs. Make a batch a raise a glass to the ladies (and the meatballs) in your life.


Servings: 4-6


for the meatballs
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
for the broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 14-inch dice
  • 1 celery stalk, peeled and chopped into V4-inch dice
  • 1 leek, white part only, trimmed of roots and tough outer leaves, finely chopped, and swirled vigorously in a bowl of cold water to remove any grit
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head escarole, coarsely chopped and rinsed thoroughly to remove any grit
  • 6 cups Chicken Stock (page 31) or high-quality canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving


  1. To make the meatballs, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat.Add the shallots and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender about 3 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Combine the remaining meatball ingredients except the flour in a bowl, add the shallots and garlic, and mix. Test the mixture by forming a small amount into a ball and frying it. Taste,and adjust the seasonings in the meat mixture as necessary. Dust your hands with flour and form the mixture into meatballs the size of marbles (about 12 teaspoon). Cover and refrigerate at least 15 minutes.
  3. To make the broth, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, leek, and mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Add the garlic and escarole, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and herbs and cook, uncovered, for an additional 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  4. Add the meatballs to the soup and poach for 5 minutes. Ladle the soup into warm bowls, sprinkle with the grated Parmesan, and serve. Offer additional cheese on the side.

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