If you are an Italian food lover then you might have already encountered Escarole. It’s a leafy, bitter green that looks a lot like lettuce and belongs from the family of chicory. Escarole soup is a traditional cuisine in Italian wedding. The soup is usually made by combining this vegetable with a small, round pasta and meatballs or sausage in chicken broth. This hearty green vegetable can also be found in stews, salads, and pastas.
However, many people don’t know how to differentiate between an escarole (an endive) and a lettuce. Because you can usually find this hearty plant bunched in with the kales and lettuces in the same corner at the supermarket. Want to know the trick?
Well, the trick is, while escarole looks a lot like butter-head lettuce, it’s not a lettuce. You can tell them apart because escarole has wide, green leaves with slightly jagged, crumpled edges that cluster into a rosette, whereas the broad leaves of lettuce are wavy and smooth. Easy, right? Also, unlike lettuce, escarole offers a pleasant bitterness and versatility. It’s milder and tenderer than curly endives, chew for yourself and you will know. However, don’t do it in the supermarket or they won’t let you anywhere near the green department, next time. (Just kidding)
Below are some Escarole soup recipes that we have curated for you, so you can try out this pleasantly bitter green.
Chicken Escarole Soup
Olive Oil: 1 Tablespoon
Skinless Chicken thighs, boneless: 1 Pound
Garlic, peeled and crushed: 6 cloves
Chicken Stock: 6 cups
Escarole, wilted and spots trimmed: 1 head
Kosher Salt and ground pepper to taste
- Take a large soup pot, heat oil at medium to high flame. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the Chicken thigh and place them in the pot. Fatty side down.
- Cook the thighs until browned. Do the side for the other side as well. However, before doing so, tuck the garlic around them and cook until the garlic is browned and aromatic. Or for about 1 minute or so.
- Now pour in the chicken stock and simmer for about 12 minutes or until the thighs are cooked.
- Remove the cooked thighs from the pot to cut them into bit pieces.
- While the soup is simmering, cut the escarole and stir a handful into the pot, remember a handful at a time.
- Cook the soup for about 4-5 minutes or until the escarole turns tender and soft. Add the chicken back to the soup and let it simmer for a bit.
- When done, serve hot!
White Beans and Escarole Soup
Olive oil: 1 tablespoon
Onion, small and chopped: 1
Garlic cloves, minced: 5
Sodium Chicken broth: 3 Cans
Tomatoes, diced and undrained: 1 can
Italian Seasoning: ½ teaspoon
Red Pepper flakes, crushed: ¼ teaspoon
Whole wheat orzo pasta, uncooked: 1 cup
Escarole, coarsely chopped: 1 bunch
Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained: 1 can
Parmesan cheese, grated: ¼ cup
- In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium flame and sauté onion and garlic.
- Add broth, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, pepper flakes and bring them to boil.
- Now add escarole and orzo and let it simmer for 15 minutes or so, until orzo is tender and soft.
- Add beans and stir. Let the escarole soup simmer for a minute or two.
- When done, sprinkle cheese and serve hot.
Escarole Soup with Meatballs
Extra virgin oil: 2 tablespoons
Garlic, sliced: 3 cloves
Carrots, chopped: 2
Red onions, chopped: 1
Fresh rosemary, chopped: 2 teaspoons
Escarole, roughly chopped: 1 head
Cannellini beans: 15 ounce
Low sodium chicken broth: 4 cups
Beef Meatballs: 12
Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste Grated Parmesan cheese for topping
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and cook garlic, rosemary, carrots, red onion, stirring occasionally.
- Now add escarole, beans and chicken broth, water, salt and pepper and let the escarole soup simmer for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables turns tender.
- Then add the meatballs and cook the soup for about 5-6 minutes.
When done serve it hot, seasoned with salt & pepper and topped with grated cheese. Yum!