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Chicken Escarole Soup with Meatballs

This is an old recipe from southern Italy. My mother gave it to me when I was first married. It started out as a holidays-only dish...but my children and grandchildren love it so much that we have it every chance we get!—Norma Manna, Hobe Sound, Florida
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Cook: 1 hour 30 min.
  • Makes
    24 servings (6 qt.)


  • 15 chicken wings
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 celery ribs, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 small head (about 5 to 6 ounce) escarole, cored and separated


  • In a stockpot, combine wings, carrots, potato, celery, tomato, onion, 1 Tbsp. salt, pepper and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until chicken and vegetables are tender.
  • Meanwhile, for the meatballs, combine egg, bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, cheese and the remaining salt in a large bowl. Crumble beef into mixture and mix well. Shape into marble-sized balls.
  • Remove chicken meat from bones and cut into bite-sized pieces. Discard bones. Return chicken to the pot. Add meatballs and escarole; cook until meatballs are no longer pink, about 10 minutes longer.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 115 calories, 6g fat (2g saturated fat), 33mg cholesterol, 402mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 1g fiber), 9g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • Katy's mom
    Dec 10, 2020

    Marge, read the print in the review box. It encourages people to indicate how they adjusted the recipe. It isn't your job to tell people what to write in the comment section. If TOH doesn't like what's posted, they will remove it.

  • Marge
    Sep 25, 2020

    Reply to Alex..... Should you have a recipe to offer, do so, but don’t try to change the original one offered on this thread.

  • Alex
    Feb 18, 2019

    The 5 stars are for my doctored recipe. This recipe is actually pretty bland, but it has the potential to be great. I immediately recognized there was something off about the vegetable to liquid ratio in this recipe. For better results, double all of the vegetables in the soup except for the onion. Add a clove of garlic to the soup and use chicken stock instead of water. Triple the amount of escarole (trust me, it's worth it), and double the meatball recipe. This recipe also has a serious lack of seasonings. Add garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, dill, a pinch of celery seed and some Lawry's seasoning salt. Also, add more fresh parsley to the soup. This is one of my absolute favorite soups to make. If you make these amendments to the recipe, you won't go wrong!

  • LegalSec
    Feb 13, 2012

    This soup was pretty bland and I even added garlic to the broth and extra Watkins chicken broth powder. I too used spinach instead of the escarole. Don't think I'll make this one again unless I spice it up more.

  • mojomo
    Jan 24, 2011

    This is alot like the Italian Wedding Soup, but I use spinach instead of escarole. I have even mixed both greens.