Spiced Lamb Meatball and Escarole Soup

Lindsay Maitland Hunt/Help Yourself

What’s more feel-good than a steaming pot of soup? Lindsay Maitland Hunt’s spiced lamb meatball and escarole soup from her new cookbook, Help Yourself, is next on our list: It tastes like a million bucks (but takes less than an hour to make).

“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),” Maitland Hunt writes. “If you prefer another green like Swiss chard, collards or beet greens, use those instead.”

We’re bookmarking this to make every week until April.

Excerpted from Help Yourself © 2020 by Lindsay Maitland Hunt. Photography © 2020 by Linda Pugliese. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Spicy Lemon-Ginger Chicken Soup


1¼ pounds ground lamb

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

½ teaspoon paprika

2¾ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed

1¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 large onions, sliced

¼ cup tomato paste

8 cups broth (homemade or high-quality store-bought)

1 large head escarole, torn into 2-inch pieces

1½ cups cooked gigante or cannellini beans or one 15.5-ounce can, drained and rinsed

Flaky sea salt (optional)

Lemon wedges, for serving


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

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

3. Make the Soup: Add the onions, ¼ teaspoon of the salt and the remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper to the fat remaining in the pot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the onions are golden and everything is softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring continuously, for about 1 minute to cook off the raw tomato flavor. Add the broth and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.

4. Add the escarole, beans, meatballs, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and return the soup to a simmer. Cook until the escarole has wilted and the meatballs have cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes more. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

5. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with flaky sea salt (if you want), and serve with a lemon wedge alongside.

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