Wedding Soup, Minestra Maritata in Italian, is a typical dish that belongs to Neapolitan cuisine, traditionally prepared during Christmas or even Easter, althought nowadays it is made on many other occasions, just perfect for cold the winter evenings. The expression “maritata” derives from the fact that the various ingredients of meat and vegetables got happily married in the soup.
The Wedding Soup has several regional variations. Although is a recipe made with simple ingredients, some vegetables can be easy to find in some regions but not in others, depending on each region local products, as well as tailoring its preparation according to personal taste.
The preparation of this dish is pretty long and laborious, but the final result of the dish will pay you back for the time spent in the kitchen!
However, Wedding Soup remains a soup made with meat and vegetables served in broth.
Which vegetables are used?
Chicory, savoy cabbage, escarole, broccoli, borage, chard and even cavolo nero sometimes.
Which meat is used?
Hen and beef muscle are the main ones used and they are cooked separately.
But basically the Wedding Soup remains a soup made with meat and vegetables served in broth.
In some regions they also add some parts of the pork such as pork chops or sausage or rind as well. In Lazio region they use grated Pecorino cheese to garnish at the end, whilst in Campania region they used grated aged ricotta cheese.
Serves 4, Preparation time 40 mins, Cooking time about 3 hours
- 500 g of chicory
- 500 g savoy cabbage
- 400 g of borage
- 500 g of curly escarole
- 500 g beef muscle
- 1/2 hen
- 3 carrots
- 2 white onions
- 2 stalks of celery
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Pecorino, grated or grated aged ricotta cheese, to taste
- Chilli flakes, optional
Put the two types of meat to boil in two different pots: in a pot put the beef and the hen in the other one.
In each pot add a whole onion, a carrot and a celery stalk after having carefully peeled and washed them and add a handful of coarse salt.
Cover the meat with plenty of water and cook over a fairly high flame until the water starts to boil and then lower the temperature and let the broth keep cooking over low heat.
Meat-cooking will take about 2 hours, but it is always a good thing to take a look at it every now to verify its cooking by sticking a fork in it to see if it is soft and, when it is tender and soft, turn off and let the broth cool after filtering it with a very fine strainer.
Let it cool down at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then let it cool down completely.
Tip: To help you even more in this operation, you can put the broth in the fridge and once the broth is cold, take it out of the fridge, remove the fat that has formed on the surface using a skimmer.
While the broth is cooling down, wash the vegetables by cutting them into coarse pieces.
Now combine the two kind of broth in a single pot that will be put back to heat.
As soon as it starts to boil, add the vegetables and cook them until tender.
Tip: Better cover the pot with a lid while the vegetables and meat keep stewing.
Remove hen and beef meat from the pot, cut them into small strips/pieces and as soon as the vegetables are cooked, add meat strips to them and let cooking together for other 2 mins.
Soup is ready, add aged-ricotta or grated Pecorino cheese and a pinch of black pepper or chilli pepper and serve.