Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Greens. It's what I crave come January 1st...well, make that December 26th, when I've had my fill of holiday fare. Don't get me wrong, I love the candy, cakes, cookies, roasts, and casseroles (and martinis, and wine...) just as much as any other person, but after awhile, it tends to make me feel heavy, if not in the literal sense, then certainly in my energy level. This year, because of illness, we didn't partake in our usual amount of eating, drinking, and merry making, but still, I'm feeling the need for food that is clean, lean and GREEN. So when I came across this recipe in this wonderful new vegetarian cookbook, Love Soup, I knew I had to try it.
Here in Southern California, greens are abundant most times of the year, but are especially wonderful now, when other produce is absent and the crisp weather keeps their sometimes aggressive flavor in check. Chock full of nutrients, including iron and vitamin C, they are true super food and should be eaten often....yeah right, just tell that to my kids.
Caramelized onions, combined with leeks, ginger, greens and a potato for thickening, make this a truly flavorful and delicious soup. And though it is called a "green" soup, I was truly shocked at just how very green it is. Verdantly green, leaf green, grass green, gloriously green....and way too green for the kids to even want to touch it with a ten-foot pole. But I love it. It tastes fresh, and a bit sharp from the greens and lemon juice, with a pleasant little zing of ginger that sings through too. It's perfect for those "spa days" and I plan on having a batch of this in my fridge all winter long. This soup is vegetarian, vegan if you don't put a dollop of yogurt on it. Even if you don't normally go for recipes like this, I really encourage you to try it. It's an immensely satisfying way to get your greens.
By the way, when I find ginger at our farmers' market I stock up on it in my freezer. Whenever I need fresh ginger, I simply grate the frozen hunk (I don't even bother peeling it), and toss it in a dish. It is never stringy that way, and keeps indefinitely.
Greens and Ginger Soup
Adapted from Love Soup
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yield: serves 4-6
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced
4 cups of water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 large leek, white and light green part only, washed well, and sliced
1 pound of mixed greens (I used spinach, turnip, mustard, and collard)
3 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger
1 quart of vegetable stock
20 grinds of fresh pepper
2-3 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
a splash of tamari, if desired
Plain yogurt for dolloping
Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a skillet. Add onions and a large pinch of salt and cook for 30 minutes, or until they are soft and golden in color.
Meanwhile, put water, potato, salt, leek, greens and ginger in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. The greens will be huge at this point, but will boil down quickly. Simmer this mixture for 20-30 minutes, or until the potato and greens are tender.
Add the caramelized onions and vegetable stock and stir well. At this point you can either blend it in batches in your blender, or use an emulsion blender. Puree until completely smooth. Season with pepper, and add lemon juice and taste. If you want to add additional depth of flavor, add a splash of tamari. Serve hot, with a dollop of plain yogurt if desired.