Escarole, I remember from my childhood, as being some sort of lettuce. So, no doubt, when I saw this recipe, I thought, What ho? Lettuce soup? No thanks. Think of it as more of a green, like turnip greens or spinach, or any other green leafy item one might put in soup. This recipe has two parts. First, you make the soup stock. This takes five pounds of marrow bones and a couple of hours of boiling.
I got the marrow bones at Whole Foods. I don't like going there because I always spend way more money there than I intend. I go in for three items and end up spending $75. because I decide I simply must have some of their $10 a pound St. Andre cheese. Five pounds of marrow bones ran approximately $18. They sat in the refrigerator for five days until I decided I had better do something with them before I had $18 worth of spoiled marrow bones.
The broth is pretty easy to make. You throw the bones and a can of tomato paste into your largest pot along with 8 cups of water and boil. The recipe makes no mention of this but a health conscious person will skim the not inconsiderable amount of fat off the broth before he/she makes the soup. Marrow is, after all, fat. Skimming the fat involves taking the bones out of the pot and putting the pot in the refrigerator over night. I left the cooling bones in a bowl on the counter, where my son the lawyer inspected them the next day and inquired, "Is there a reason for this?"
I made the soup in two shifts because I planned to finish it the next night, but when the next night rolled around I sank wearily into a chair and plumped for take out. My husband actually made the soup the next night after I got as far as chopping up the escarole and staggered into a chair, moaning with pain. It's very tasty, a good cold weather soup.
5 pounds soup bones with marrow
1 six ounce can tomato paste
8 cups water
3 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 pound ground chuck
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 egg lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound chopped escarole
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced potatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Place the soup bones, tomato paste, water and two and one half teaspoons of the salt in a four quart saucepan. Cover and simmer one hour.
2. Combine the chuck, garlic, egg, pepper, cheese and remaining salt. Shape into three-quarter inch balls. Add to hot soup and simmer ten minutes longer. Add the vegetables and simmer thirty minutes longer or until vegetables are tender. Remove bones and serve soup hot with chopped parsley sprinkled over the top.
Makes eight servings.