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Escarole Meatball Soup In Crockpot
•2 slices of hearty bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
•¼ cup whole milk
•1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup)
•3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
•1 large egg yolk
•1½ teaspoons minced fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
•4 garlic cloves, minced
•Salt and pepper
•1 pound ground meat
•2 teaspoons vegetable oil
•1 onion, chopped fine
•¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
•6 cups chicken broth
•1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed
•1 head escarole (1 head), trimmed and sliced 1 inch thick
Hearty beans, delicate meatballs, and wilted greens make for a classic Italian soup, but timing this dish in a slow cooker took extra care. While most bean-based soups start with cooking dried beans for hours before adding the meatballs, this just would not work in the slow cooker. Rather than settle for tough meatballs or undercooked beans, this recipe uses canned beans and brothplus onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. For the meatballs, may we recommend Green Star Farm’s Ground Pork!? You are also welcome to use leaner ground meats such as turkey or chicken. Searing the meatballs in a skillet before adding them to the slow cooker allowed them to keep their shape and added meaty flavor to the broth. With the skillet out, you may as well use it to sauté the aromatics to further enhance their flavor! Escarole, stirred in toward the end, rounded out our soup perfectly, adding freshness and color. The amount of escarole may seem like a lot at first, but it all wilts down.
1Mash bread, milk, Parmesan, parsley, egg yolk, oregano, half of garlic, and ½ teaspoon pepper into paste in large bowl using fork. Add ground meat and hand-knead until well combined. Pinch off and roll ground meat mixture into tablespoon-size meatballs (about 24 meatballs).
2Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Brown half of meatballs on all sides, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker. Repeat with remaining 1 teaspoon oil and remaining meatballs; transfer to slow cooker.
3Add onion and ¼ teaspoon salt to fat left in skillet and cook over medium heat until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in pepper flakes and remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds; transfer to slow cooker. Gently stir in broth and beans, cover, and cook until meatballs are tender, 4 to 6 hours on low or 3 to 5 hours on high.
4Stir escarole into soup, 1 handful at a time, cover, and cook on high until tender, about 10 minutes, or more to your taste preference. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Slow-Cooker Italian Meatball and Escarole Soup from Americas Test Kitchen