A hearty escarole soup made with Parmesan rinds and bay leaves, with plenty of tender, cheese- and nutmeg-flavored mini chicken meatballs.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 head escarole, roughly chopped (about 1 quart)
- 1 medium onion, finely sliced (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium stalk celery, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 quart homemade or store-bought low sodium chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 (3- to 4-inch) chunk Parmesan rind
- 1 very cold boneless skinless chicken breast half, cut into 1-inch chunks, about 8 ounces
- 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- Pinch grated nutmeg
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add escarole, onion, celery, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened but not browned, about 15 minutes. Add chicken stock, bay leaf, and Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer, and cook until vegetables are fully softened and flavors are developed, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine chicken, cheese, heavy cream egg, nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt) in a large bowl. Season well with black pepper. Toss with hands to combine. Transfer mixture to a food processor and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip, or to a heavy duty zipper-lock bag with a 1/2-inch hole cut in one corner.
When soup is cooked, make the meatballs by piping them over the hot soup, cutting them off in 1/2-inch segments with the tip of a sharp paring knife. When all the dumplings are used, bring soup to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf and Parmesan rind, season to taste with salt and pepper, stir in parsley, and serve, drizzling with more extra-virgin olive oil at the table.