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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Kitchen Mailbox: Wedding Soup a delicious link with tradition

Thursday, January 13, 2000

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Soup is what you make of it. When Kitchen Mailbox requested a recipe for Italian Wedding soup, we were flooded with interesting recipes. Interesting in that each recipe was slightly different, most by only one ingredient. Some of the recipes we received were ones from The Pittsburgh Press that our readers had saved and used for years. We even received a recipe featured in the Kitchen Mailbox a few years ago. A letter from Mary Dalduss of Vandergrift caught our eye. Here is an excerpt from her letter:

"This is in response to your request for wedding soup ... In our family, it is much more than a soup recipe that has been carried on for generations -- it's part of our family history ... not a holiday or special occasion would pass without a pot of Chicottia soup. Making Wedding Soup the old-fashioned way took three days."

Three days? A true labor of love. We thank Dalduss for sharing her touching family memories.

Space does not allow us to print all the recipes we received, but here are some variations of this soup.

You can buy a chicken and make your own stock. Or if you're not into day-long soup cooking, skip it and buy canned chicken stock (to equal 3 quarts).

If you prefer soup with meat, cube 2 to 4 (depending on size) chicken breasts into the canned stock.

Spinach or escarole (1 pound fresh) can be used in this soup. It's just a matter of taste. Escarole is a variety of endive with a milder taste. Frozen spinach also may be used.

The meatballs may be made with a combination of ground veal, pork and beef or just beef. Some cooks seem to prefer frying, baking or broiling the meatballs before adding them to the stock; others throw the meatballs into the hot stock to cook.

The cheese used in the meatballs is either Parmesan or Romano. Romano was called for in the majority of the recipes. Again, it's a matter of taste. Romano cheese is sharp and tangy; Parmesan cheese has a rich but milder taste.

Some recipes called for making the stock and refrigerating it until the next day so that the fat would solidify, making it easier to remove.

And lastly, some recipes called for the addition of pastina or orzo (about 1/2 cup) or a mixture of egg and cheese, which is then drizzled into the hot soup to make string-like egg noodles.

Ethel F. Baleyak of Carrolltown sent us her version of this versatile soup. Italian Wedding Soup was requested by Mary Kurkuar-Straw of Murrysville.

Wedding Soup

3 quarts water
1 3-pound chicken, quartered
3 stalks celery
3 carrots
1 1/2 tablespoons parsley, preferably fresh
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
3 chicken bouillon cubes, optional
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound endive or spinach, chopped

In a 6-quart stockpot, bring water, chicken, celery, carrots, onion, bouillon and parsley to a boil. Simmer 1 hour.

While broth is simmering, mix together the cheese, salt, 1 egg, ground beef, bread crumbs and pepper and form into 1/2-inch balls, refrigerate.

Remove chicken, celery and carrots from broth. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces; slice carrots and celery in 1/4-inch pieces. Return chicken and vegetables to broth and bring to boil; add meatballs. Simmer until meatballs are cooked. Just before serving, add the spinach or endive to soup and bring to boil. Beat remaining egg and pour slowly into soup, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and serve.


We received several phone calls regarding the Chop Suey Cake from last week's Kitchen Mailbox. Sorry we confused some of you, but this was an eggless cake.

Not so the Eggplant Quiche With Tomatoes and Olive which ran as part of our "Best of" roundup last week. Yes, it takes 4 eggs.

And we could blame it on Y2K, but we won't -- somehow 2 cloves of crushed garlic was left out of Lynn Steffan's Potato Salad recipe.


If anyone has a recipe for pierogi dough that would yield 3 dozen pierogies, Agnes Matrosky of Carnegie would like to have a copy.

Al Stoehr of Baldwin would like a recipe for Tomato Barley Soup.

Kathy Johnson lost her recipe for Pineapple Bar Cookies. This is a layer cookie with crushed pineapple and was printed in The Pittsburgh Press years ago.

Does anyone have the recipe for "Goetta"? Does anyone know what Goetta is? Jeanne Lindsay of McMurray believes it's a German dish with oatmeal and ground pork. This mixture was then placed in a loaf pan and refrigerated. This loaf would then be sliced and fried. Anyone have the recipe?

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.

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