Thursday, August 1, 2019

Escarole, Bean, and Meatball Soup #recipe @lucyburdette

LUCY BURDETTE:  I realize the middle of summer is not exactly hot soup weather. That said, I’ve been waiting to make escarole, bean, and meatball soup ever since David Lebowitz posted his recipe in the early spring. It was not until last week that I found a giant gorgeous head of escarole at the farmers market. Onward!

 The meatballs are optional in this soup if you prefer no red meat. However, David’s recipe is delicious and it makes a ton of meatballs that can be spread out over a series of meals. Don't leave out the fennel seeds--those make the recipe!


One large head of escarole
1/2 cup chopped leeks or onions
One garlic clove, chopped
One box good quality chicken broth
2 cups cooked white beans
8 to 10 meatballs

If you have made the meatballs ahead of time and frozen some of them, this recipe will be a snap. If not, you can follow the recipe here. I used all beef, and I skipped the added salt as I found it unnecessary. I baked the meatballs at 350 for just under 20 minutes.

 Soak the dried white beans overnight. Rinse them, cover with fresh water and simmer until soft. The time will vary according to the variety of being you’ve chosen. These white beans were cassoulet beans from Rancho Gordo and they took about two hours.

Sauté the garlic, onions, and leeks in a bit of olive oil until soft. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. And the escarole and simmer until almost soft. Add the beans and the meatballs and simmer this all together until everything is piping hot. Serve with lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy the soup!

Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) has published 17 mysteries, including the latest in the Key West food critic series, A Deadly Feast (Crooked Lane Books, May 2019.)  Read more at 

You can also find Lucy on Facebook and Instagram.


  1. Here in south Florida, I believe that a/c was made so we can enjoy soup year 'round!
    This looks lovely.
    Is the escarole bitter tasting?

    1. if you ate it in a salad, it might be a little bitter, but not cooked!

    2. Thanks for the clarification.

  2. This looks really good. I'm looking forward to cooking soup this fall. We don't have air-conditioning in our old house; so, days in the 90s and 100s doesn't make me willing to sweat it. LOL

    1. definitely not soup weather in your house--try it this fall!

  3. Wow this sounds interesting. Going to save this for later. We eat chili all year long. I make a veggie and ground beef chili. My husband doesnt like beans. Have a wonderful summer. quilting dash lady at comcast dot net