Gramma Soup

It seems that every time I’m trying to figure out what to make for dinner for the past few weeks, I keep arriving at soup. With cold rain lashing against my face on my walk to the Metro, my fingers numb and clutching my umbrella, all I can think of is nourishing soup, a hot mug of creamy Irish Breakfast tea with sugar, and a nice warm chocolate souffle for dessert.

Soup is always my go to meal in the winter. It’s minimum effort with maximum results. It’s uncomplicated, humble and basic, while still being utterly satisfying. You can put it together and then watch Christmas movies on the couch in your jammies while it bubbles away on the stove. So cozy. I always burn my tongue in my eagerness to sample!

The holidays bring up a lot of emotions for me about my family. I actually have a wonderful relationship with them, including my extended family (mostly). The one regret that I truly have in my life so far is how little time I was able to have with my paternal Italian grandmother. Gramma Lee was an amazing woman. My dad has told me that we are eerily similar, down to our bouts of depression and mutual obsessions with shoes and jewelry. Most importantly, we both have a love of houses full of people who love to eat. Almost all of my favorite recipes today are ones that were hers, passed down to my mother once she married my dad. So I guess in a way, I still get to spend time with her every time I make one of her recipes.

Clearly, with all this holiday reminiscing about my Gramma Lee, it was time to make what we’ve always called “Gramma Soup” in my family. It’s a version of Italian Wedding soup that is used to cure colds, homesickness, bad break ups, and the general winter “blahs.” We don’t eat chicken noodle in our big fat Italian family. Ever.

Gramma Soup

2 boxes chicken broth
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes with juice
1 bay leaf
1/2 onion, chopped
1 head of fresh escarole, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 egg
parmesan cheese (trust me on this, the kraft stuff actually works better than the good fresh stuff. don’t waste your money for a good chunk of parm for this recipe)

For the mini-meatballs:
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. gluten free Italian breadcrumbs ( I buzzed up some gluten free croutons from Whole Foods in the food processor with some Italian spices from Penzey’s. MMMMMM!)
1 egg
1 clove minced garlic
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1) Saute carrots, onions, garlic, celery with olive oil in a stock pot. When soft, add stock, bay leaf, and tomatoes. Cover and simmer while you do the next few steps.

2) Cook down the escarole with a little bit of olive oil. The escarole will become brighter green as it cooks down. As soon as it’s changed color, stir it into the soup.

3) Mix all ingredients for meatballs with your hands in a large bowl. After the mixture is well blended, form small meatballs (about the same size around as a nickel) and place them in a shallow frying pan with a little olive oil. Cook through, turning occasionally until browned. Once cooked, drain grease off on a paper towel and then add to the soup.

4) Beat together one egg and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Stir the mixture into the soup briskly. Once it looks lovely and cloudy, the soup is ready. Serve with a glass of red wine and a piece of toasted gluten free sourdough bread.

***A quick note: Before I stopped eating gluten, the other thing that we added to this soup if we didn’t make the meatballs were pastines. These are just little tiny pastas; think the stars in Chicken and Stars soup!

***Another quick note: My now ex-roommate cut off our internet/cable right before she moved out. The pictures will come later when I’m not using Keith’s computer! 🙂

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10 Responses to “Gramma Soup”

  1. Casii Says:

    I am a true soup nut and this one looks great!

  2. Casii Says:

    I am a true soup nut and this one looks great!

  3. ~~tonya~~ Says:

    Sounds great!! Will try this soon. TFS

  4. ~~tonya~~ Says:

    Sounds great!! Will try this soon. TFS

  5. Heidi Smith Says:

    ohh I think my DH’s grandmother used to make something like this too! I will have to ask him!

  6. Heidi Smith Says:

    ohh I think my DH’s grandmother used to make something like this too! I will have to ask him!

  7. kitschen Says:

    Ladies, if you try it out, let me know what you thought 🙂 It’s always cool to see what people think of a recipe you’ve been eating your whole life!

  8. kitschen Says:

    Ladies, if you try it out, let me know what you thought 🙂 It’s always cool to see what people think of a recipe you’ve been eating your whole life!

  9. michelle @ thursday night smackdown Says:

    yes! just like my (italian) mom’s mini meatball soup!

    i loved that stuff but have never made it myself – don’t know why. i’ll have to fix that.

  10. michelle @ thursday night smackdown Says:

    yes! just like my (italian) mom’s mini meatball soup!

    i loved that stuff but have never made it myself – don’t know why. i’ll have to fix that.

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