One of my favorite soups growing up was my mom’s garbage soup. We also called it escarole soup if we wanted it to sound more appetizing. I have been eating this for as long as I can remember and it is a family favorite. I have found that just about everyone else in the world already knows about it or something similar under the name Italian wedding soup.
When the SouperBowl challenge was first proposed on twitter I dont think it mattered what the mystery three ingredients were, I was making this soup as soon as I saw that the chosen type was Italian. In this case the three ingredients to use were orange peel, eggplant, and beans.
Replacing the potatoes in the soup with beans seemed easy enough (probably more traditional) as was adding orange zest to the meatballs, but where to put the eggplant. In the end I decided that I loved the smokey flavor of roasted eggplant and it might add a nice smokiness to the meatball. So I added roasted eggplant to the meat and an extra egg and bread crumbs to hold things together.
All in all I thought it was great. I would skip the eggplant next time but I might keep the orange and beans.
Everyone, even the most important critic at the table, liked it. Myself I thought the flavors were very good, however I had been eating my mom’s original version of this my entire life so I had a hard time getting past the fact that this was almost right, just slightly off.
This may go without saying, but I would recommend not dropping your soup on the floor. It looks remarkably less appetizing afterwards… though I still ate the meatballs.
Eggplant Escarole Soup
- 2 quarts beef stock
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1 Large Eggplant
- 3/4 lb ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (approximate just enough to hold things together)
- 1 lb escarole sliced
- 2 medium carrots sliced
- 2 celery sticks sliced
- 1 orange
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 30 oz cooked or canned cannellini beans
- salt to taste
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Preheat Oven to 500 F
- While preheating chop and slice all your veggies and set aside
- Zest the orange and set aside
- Combine stock, tomato paste, and juice from half of the orange and bring to a simmer over a medium low heat
- Poke lots of holes with a fork in the eggplant and place on a baking pan in the preheated oven, baking eggplant for one hour until charred
- Scoop out the eggplant and cool by stirring in a metal bowl over a bowl of ice water
- Mix eggplant, orange zest, salt, garlic, eggs, meat, and bread crumbs (enough to hold together loosely)
- Form 3/4 inch meat balls and place in simmering stock cover for 10 minutes
- Add the carrots, celery and escarole and continue cooking covered, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until the carrots are just tender
- Add the beans, stir and serve with Parmesan cheese grated over if you like
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 00:30
Cook time: 01:40