Italian wedding soup | chicken meatballs & homemade stock

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For your chance to win the Airstream® Interstate 24X and support a great cause, enter at | Thanks to Omaze for sponsoring this video! ***RECIPE, FEEDS 8-10*** 5 lb (2.27kg) bone-in chicken thighs and/or legs (I think thighs are better) 1-2 lb (454-907g) dark greens (I like curly kale ) 1 lb (454g) carrots 1/2 lb (227g) small dried pasta shape (I like Israeli couscous) 2 onions 2 stalks celery (very optional) 4-5 garlic cloves half a bottle of white wine (if you don’t use this you might need more water in the soup and you’ll want to put in a little lemon juice or vinegar at the end to taste) 1-2 eggs (depending on if you want to clarify the stock) pecorino or parmesan cheese a few bay leaves fresh herbs for the meatballs and for garnish (I like parsley) dried herbs (I like oregano, thyme, sage and garlic powder) olive oil bones breadcrumbs (I like panko) salt pepper Cut as much meat off the as you reasonably can and set aside. To make the stock, put the bones and skin in a big pot along with an onion (cut in half), a couple carrots and a couple celery stalks. Put the uncovered pot in the oven and brown all the stuff under the broiler/grill, taking it out to stir it a few times. (You can just fry the stuff on the stovetop instead until you’ve got some color on everything.) Get everything fully submerged in water, cover and cook in the oven at 200ºF/95ºC overnight or up to 24 hours. If you need stock faster, do it at 400ºF/200ºC for 2-3 hours. (You could just simmer it on the stovetop instead of doing it in the oven.) Strain all the solids out of the stock and discard. If you want to clarify the stock, separate out two egg whites, beat them with a little cold water, stir them into the stock and simmer for about 10 minutes. A raft will form at the top that traps impurities — skim or strain it off. (This is also a good time to skim off fat, if you want to. I don’t.) To make the meatballs, blitz your reserved chicken meat in a food processor until just before it forms a smooth paste. (You can mince meat by hand with a knife, though it takes awhile.) Put the meat in a big mixing bowl. Crack in one egg, or put in your two reserved egg yolks if you clarified the stock. Grate in a giant pile of cheese. Pour in some breadcrumbs (I shoot for meatballs that are about 1/4 breadcrumbs by volume). Season aggressively with dried herbs and pepper. Season conservatively with salt (you can add more in a sec). Put in a handful of roughly chopped fresh herbs. Pour in a big glug of olive oil. Mix everything up then cook a tiny sample to taste for seasoning (I just microwaved it). Add more salt if needed. Roll into meatballs. You can either poach them directly in the soup, or you can brown them in a pan with olive oil before putting them in. (I recommend browning them in a nonstick pan, since chicken meatballs are very delicate and likely to break if they stick.) To finish the soup, pour the white wine into the stock, drop in the bay leaves and season it conservatively with salt. If you have a leftover cheese rind, you could put that in now to flavor the soup. Chop your remaining carrots and onions into small pieces and put them in the stock. Put in the meatballs (browned or not). Put in the pasta. Simmer the soup until the carrots and onions are soft and the meatballs are cooked through, about half an hour. (It can hold all day like this.) Eventually take out the bay leaves and the cheese rind. While you’re simmering the soup, peel and chop the garlic, prep the greens by trimming out any tough stems and cutting the leaves into bite-size pieces. About 10 minutes before you want to eat, stir the leaves into the soup and cook until wilted but still green. If the soup needs more liquid, add some more water and/or wine. If you’re not using wine, stir in a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar. Taste the broth and add more salt or acid if it needs it. Stir in the garlic right before you want to eat. Garnish the soup with fresh herbs in the bowl. Leftovers freeze and thaw great.

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36 COMMENTS

  1. This is the second Adam Ragusea recipe I've made. This turned out really good. But I did swap out the stock for store bought and the chicken for ground chicken. I know it's not the same thing but I was in a hurry to get dinner on the table. It still turned out really yummy!

  2. At first, I thought Adam was an alcoholic for how much wine he uses in his food (I know the alcohol cooks off), then I deglazed some chicken for use in a matzah ball soup with some wine and good god was it the best soup I've ever made, never going back to boring flavored soups.

  3. I've made this comment before, but I find myself watching more and more of your videos as the school year approaches because your recipes are just so good for students, busy parents, and any number of modern folk to throw in the freezer and forget about. Even when you do chef-y things, they're in the name of not thinking about food longer than you have to to get something nutritious.

  4. If the original is "married soup" it makes sense. The looks like what a newly married couple historically (not in the last 30 years) would be having a lot of as the usually young wife was getting used to cooking alone having just left her mother's household. I'm betting the meatballs would have been made of whatever was cheap and available in their area so this stable probably has 100+ variations over the past 100 years depending upon location, season, and the economics of the household.

  5. We actually have a similar kind of soup here in Central Europe, tho instead of muscle meat for the meatballs we instead use (what I at least believe is) chicken liver – probably also ground to be workable into it. It has this very weird taste that reminds me of slightly more bitter beef meatballs, which goes extremely well with the chicken broth. If you get your hands on some, Id definitely suggest trying to look for a recipe online or in a book, Its one of the best late autumn and winter meals you could have and is very different to anything Ive ever had the chance to taste.

  6. One of my favorite soups. So good.

    I would be interested in a bay leaf video. I can always taste bay leaf so I know when it's missing and I'm a big fan. When I make gumbo or chicken soup I typically use twice what's called for because I love the flavor.

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