What a delicious mouthful!
It’s frigid outside! The temperatures are in the single digits. It has been a heavy coat, gloves, scarves, hat and long john (yeah I know) kinda week. It is cold in the Northeast. On cold wintery nights, nothing warms me up more than a nice hearty bowl of soup. Caribbean soups are usually thick with dumplings, plantains, and ground provisions such as cassava and yams. As far as proteins go, the options are endless and could include salt beef, pigtail, cow heel, turkey etc. Whatever you have on hand works. You can also keep it vegetarian and exclude the meat all together.
So you are probably wondering where does the Italian Wedding comes in. Well, I am a fan of Italian wedding soup with the little meatballs and kale/escarole and had the bright idea to combine some of the ingredients with some of the ingredients I normally use for my lentil soup. The main ingredients in this soup are meatballs, lentils and kale.
1 lb dry lentils
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 cup baby carrots
3 cups fresh kale, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 tbsp green seasoning
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 scotch bonnet pepper
6 – 8 cups water
½ lb lean ground beef
½ lb Italian sausage with casings removed (I used the hot kind)
¼ cup breadcrumbs (seasoned or unseasoned)
1 tsp fresh parsley/ ½ tsp dried
¼ cup onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp season salt
½ tsp black pepper
Oil for frying
Combine all the ingredients and form into little meatballs about an inch wide.
Add oil to a large pot to cover the bottom of the pot about 3 tablespoons and heat.
Fry the meatballs in batches so as not to crowd the pan, about 2 minutes on each side.
Remove from pot and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Don’t worry if the meatballs are not cooked all the way through as they will continue to cook in the soup.
Continue process with remaining meatballs and set aside.
Remove excess oil from the pot used to fry the meatballs, leaving about 2 tbls of oil.
Fry onions until translucent, add garlic and fry for another minute.
Add ginger and sauté for another 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes, green seasoning, bay leaf and sauté for 3 – 5 minutes.
Add lentils and stir to combine with other ingredients.
Add kale, cover for 2 minutes to allow kale to wilt.
Stir, add 6 cups of water cover and bring to a boil and lower heat and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes.
When lentils are soft, add carrots, celery and meatballs. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
Note: If you want to skip making the meatballs, substitute them with a pound of Italian sausage cut into 2 inch pieces.