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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wedding Soup

One of the crazy things about marriage is how much on your wedding day, you often focus on the good stuff in your vows, like, "for better", "for richer" and "in health".  You hope in your naive way that everything will be puppies and rainbows but you forget that in the marriage to another person you will quite likely deal with horrible fights, devastating loss, financial disasters and heartbreaking sickness. 

Not to scare you off or anything.

My friend W, whose husband is going through chemo, reminded me a few weeks ago of those vows you take - "in sickness and in health".  Wow.  You always imagine that the sickness may be a bad rash or the flu, not cancer.  When you get married, sometimes you really step into the trenches of (hopefully) bearing one another's burdens. And getting ice cream in the middle of the night when you are pregnant and you have a craving. (I'M NOT PREGNANT.)

My next Opa! Sopa! soup recipe is a western Pennsylvania classic, wedding soup.  Per Wikipedia, "the term "wedding soup" is a mistranslation of the Italian language, minestra maritata ("married soup"), which is a reference to the fact that green vegetables and meats go well together".

The recipe is courtesy of my friend Denine (thanks!).

Italian Wedding Soup

Meatball ingredients
1 egg well beaten
1/2 lb ground meatloaf mix (i use turkey)
2 T Parsley
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  In large mixing bowl, mix ground meat, parsley, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  mix thoroughly with your hands working in the ingredients.
2.  Add the well beaten egg, mix again until all blended.
3.  Roll into 1 inch balls (I actually make them teeny tiny)
4.  Set aside

*I cheated and made meatballs from fresh Italian sausage that I took out of its casing.*

Soup base
1 large can (48oz) chicken broth
1/2 can water (you may need to add full can)
1 can chicken breast - I used 1 1/2 breasts of a chicken that I had roasted last weekend
1/2 pkg frozen chopped spinach (I throw in a bag of the fresh spinach)
2 small or 1 large carrot(s), shredded
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 chicken bouillon cubes (I used a Tablespoon of chicken base)
1/2 cup uncooked pasta (orzo, pastina or dot noodles)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg, well beaten
Pepper to taste
Olive oil

Saute onions and celery in 1 Tbsp oil in the bottom of the soup pot.  Pour the chicken broth in after the onions are translucent.  Add the remainder of the vegetables.  Chop the chicken breast into bite-size pieces, add to the broth.  Crush the two bouillon cubes and add to the broth.  Add 2 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese and the meatballs to the broth.  Cover with a lid and allow to cook for 1 1/2 hours over medium heat.
Approximately 20 minutes before serving, bring the soup to a boil and add the noodles.  In a liquid measuring cup mix egg, 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese and 2-4 Tbsp water.  Pour into soup while stirring continuously.  Cook 10 more minutes. Serve hot.

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