From Jeanelle Hayner and Won Kim
Well – we are finally slogging through a soupy backlog of recipes. Hopefully it’ll stay bite-ass cold just long enough for you to try out a couple at home before we move into Gazpacho & Flatbread season. Herewith, Jeanelle and Won‘s Italian Mistress Soup. It’s like Italian Wedding Soup, but more scandalous. Eat with plenty of hand gestures and the scantily clad partner of your choice.
½ pound ground pork
½ pound ground veal
½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ pound dry Israeli couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 quarts chicken or vegetable stock, homemade or storebought
1 bay leaf
1 large parmigiano rind/heel
2 bunches kale (we used a mixture of lacinato and green curly), stripped and chopped
½ teaspoon red chili flakes (or more, to taste)
juice of 1 lemon
splash of white wine vinegar (optional)
salt & pepper
¼ pound pancetta, cubed and cooked into crispy bits (optional, as garnish)
Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine the veal, pork, parsley, garlic, and salt and pepper (to taste) in a large bowl and mix with your hands. Roll into small meatballs (just under one-inch diameter), and place on a sprayed or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake until just cooked through (about 30 minutes, depending on your oven). Make sure not to overcook them, as they’ll cook a little bit more in the soup.
Meanwhile, place the couscous in a dry, cool skillet, and toast gently over medium-low heat. Stir/shimmy the pan occasionally, and toast until the couscous is golden on a few sides and fragrant.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and add the red onions. Saute the onions until slightly caramelized. Add the couscous and red chili flakes to the pot and stir to combine, making sure the couscous is thoroughly incorporated with the onions & oil. Add the stock, bay leaf, and parmigiano heel and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer until the couscous is about halfway cooked (still chewy in the center), about 5-7 minutes. At this point, add the meatballs, kale, and lemon juice, and continue simmering until the kale is wilted (that won’t take long), the couscous is fully cooked, and the immediate acidity of the lemon has mellowed to a bright kick. If you like your soup kickier, feel free to experiment with the splash of vinegar (we did!).
Garnish with pancetta and serve.