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Escarole Soup with Turkey Meatballs

They're not like Mama used to make: These succulent meatballs are formed from lean ground turkey instead of beef, and they're served in a light broth with escarole, not perched on top of spaghetti. (If you really miss that pasta, boil about a quarter pound of your favorite kind and stir it into the soup before serving.)

Plus: More Soup Recipes and Tips

  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 eggs, beaten to mix
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 head escarole (about 1/2 pound), leaves washed well and chopped (about 1 quart)
  • 1 1/2 quarts canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons red- or white-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the turkey, eggs, garlic, onion, bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the black pepper until thoroughly combined. Shape the mixture into twenty meatballs.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil over moderate heat. Add half the meatballs to the pan and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, about 3 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the pan and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and the rest of the meatballs.
  3. Put all of the meatballs, the escarole, broth, water, vinegar, red-pepper flakes, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt in a large pot. Cover and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. The meatballs should be cooked through by the time the broth comes to a simmer.

Suggested Pairing

Turkey is deceptively strong in flavor and can stand up to even the most powerful red wines. Here, try a raw-boned, rich Petite Sirah from California for a rollicking duet.

Photo © Bree Hester

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