Spiced Lamb Meatball and Escarole Soup

Time50 minutes
YieldsServes 4 to 6
A simple soup is flavored with lamb meatballs, greens and beans in this good-on-your-gut dish.
(Linda Pugliese)
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This soup was inspired by the flavors of intensely spiced lamb shawarma and the components of Italian wedding soup (subbing beans for the traditional pasta). If you prefer other greens, such as Swiss chard, collards or beet greens, use those instead of the escarole.

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Make the meatballs: In a large bowl, mix the lamb, garlic, coriander, cumin, oregano, turmeric, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Pinch off 1 ounce (2 scant tablespoons) of the lamb mixture and gently roll it into a ball with your hands. Place on a plate and repeat with the remaining lamb mixture.


In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crispy on all sides, 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a plate and pour off 3 tablespoons of the fat from the pan.


Add the onions, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the fat remaining in the pot. Continue cooking over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the onions are golden and softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute to cook off the raw tomato flavor. Add the broth and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.


Return the meatballs to the pot along with the escarole, beans and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and return the soup to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the escarole has wilted and the meatballs have cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes more. Taste and season with salt and pepper.


Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if you want, and serve with a lemon wedge alongside.

Excerpted from “Help Yourself” © by Lindsay Maitland Hunt.