Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring's Bounty Soup

I came across this recipe for "Spring Celebration Soup" in one of my cookbooks, and while I figured it would be fitting to give this one a try since Spring is officially here, I looked at the ingredients and thought, "This is going to taste like the color green."  So I decided to make it!  Because if you don't have a kitchen fail every once in awhile your husband might forget the gloriousness of take-away!  I switched up some of the veg to cater to what was in our Crop Shares this week, and then I decided to really go off the rails and use the carrot greens in place of the parsley required for this soup.  I really thought about calling this the Waste Not Want Not Soup since there are very few kitchen scraps that come out of this one, and hey if you have the carrot greens, why not use them!  As an aside, Crop Share member Deanna Freedlander has a fantastic recipe for Carrot Top Pesto that she puts over spaghetti squash.  Since squash season is on it's way out, just use regular pasta or even turn your yellow squash into "squoodles" (if you have a sprial cutter or a juillene tool that will cut thin noodle-like strips, just saute those in a little bit of olive oil for a few minutes and ta-da veggie pasta!).

Once I'd finished the soup, I took one look at it and thought, "what have I done?!"  But once I tasted it, is was surprisingly good!  It didn't taste like the color green, it was refreshing and even filling.  So...I had another bowl.  Thus if you're looking for something bright and fresh, that is so chock full of veggie goodness it would make a vegan blush, then this is the soup for you.  And if your spinach is starting to look a bit sad by today, this is a great way to use it up since it's getting pureed in and looking wilty won't matter.

Spring's Bounty Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bundle green onions, chopped (and hang onto the stem ends and start to re-sprout them as we did with the romaine here!)
4 carrots from bundle, skinned and diced
Carrot greens, minced
1 bundle asparagus, chopped
5 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 bundle of spinach, stem ends trimmed at root (see our trick for perfectly clean and grit-free spinach)
1 cup milk (I used unsweetened rice milk for dairy-free)
Salt & pepper to taste

In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat and add in garlic to saute until just fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add in green onions and carrots and saute for 5 minutes, then add carrot greens and asparagus and cook for an additional 3 minutes.  Pour in stock and lemon juice, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat slightly and simmer, uncovered, for about 5-7 minutes.  Add in spinach and simmer for 2-3 minutes more, just long enough to wilt down the spinach.

If you've got an immersion blender, this is where it becomes your best friend.  Break that baby out and start to puree the dickens out of this soup -- just make sure to pull it off the heat, unless you're really a fan of hot soup burns.  If you don't have an immersion blender, you'll want to use a measuring cup to puree up about 2 cups of the soup at a time, and you'll need a holding pot or bowl for the already pureed portions, as you'll be returning everything to the main pot.

Once pureed, return to heat and bring back to a simmer.  Stir in your cup of milk, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for an additional 3-5 minutes, and then remove from heat and let stand for the same amount of time, to let the flavors set up.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Serve with crusty bread (the baguettes at Nalls on Fridays would be PERFECT).  Or if your immune system hates gluten like mine does, make sad puppy eyes at the baguettes and then pick up some gluten-free bagel chips or crackers.  Glutino makes some killer rosemary crackers.

Adapted from Simply In Season by Mary Beth Lind & Cathleen Hockman-Wert

**Speaking of all things Spring, don't forget next weekend (4/25-4/26) is the LAST weekend of the Early Spring Crop Share round.  But don't despair, the Spring Round will kick off on May 9th, so be sure to grab a registration form when you're picking up this weekend.  They've got more details on the Crop Share portion of the website...**

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