Saturday, May 10, 2014

Soup of Garden Greens

The original soup recipe called for watercress but mentioned that you could also use spinach or sorrel.  I have a number of patches of perennial sorrel and a lot of other greens in the garden so I decided to use them rather than going shopping at the store.  My mix included arugula, beet greens, kale, lettuce, Asian red mustard, spinach and Swiss chard.

Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) has a lemony flavour.

Arugula, also know as roquette, has a peppery flavour.

Asian red mustard tastes a bit like wasabi to me.  

True Siberian Kale is my favourite kale.  It tastes sweet and a bit like young broccoli.  I had one patch that grew for four years and successfully over-wintered in northern Ontario though it eventually petered out.  Let part of it go to seed and save them for a future crop.  It has pretty yellow flowers.

Lovely lovage tastes stronger than celery and is best used in smaller amounts.  It freezes and dries well.

Makes 4-6 servings (about 2 litres - 8 cups in total)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) each butter and good olive oil
2 cups/1 large sweet onion (Vidalia), diced
2 cups (500 ml) potatoes, diced - I didn't peel them
4 celery ribs, chopped (about 2 cups/500 ml) - I used 1/2 cup (125 ml) young garden lovage foliage and stems
4 cups (1 liter) chicken or vegetable broth or water
1/2 (2.5 ml) teaspoons sea salt - depends on your taste and how salty your broth is
1/2 (2.5 ml) teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cups (1 liter), greens like watercress or other greens, rinsed and drained.  I used arugula, beet greens, kale, lettuce, red mustard, spinach and Swiss chard
1 cup (250 ml) sour cream - I used Organic Meadow, 14% MF
1/8th tsp (0.6 ml) ground cayenne and nutmeg
Fresh dill, lettuce, lovage and parsley sprigs for garnish

1. Heat the butter and oil over medium high heat in a large soup pot. Add diced onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes or until onion is softened.

2. Add diced potato and sliced celery (or lovage), and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. I cleaned up the potatoes but left the skins on for extra fibre and nutrients. The photo below is of garden lovage leaves and stems.

3. Add broth and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat and cover; simmer 25 to 30 minutes or until potato is tender. I used a homemade turkey stock that I had previously frozen for this very occasion.

4. If you are using watercress, stir it in at the end of cooking. This ensures a fresh bright green soup. I added the clean, sliced greens from my garden during the last 5 minutes as I was using kale, sorrel and heartier greens that need a bit of cooking. Make sure they are tender before you take the soup off the heat.

5. Stir in the sour cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the ground cayenne and nutmeg as well (optional). The soup tastes great without the sour cream if you are avoiding dairy.

6. Leave the soup chunky or puree, all, or part of it. Serve hot, or refrigerate and serve cold. Thin with a bit of stock or milk before serving if the soup is too thick. Ladle into bowls and garnish with sprigs of fresh herbs and baby lettuce. Below I used baby dill, lovage, parsely and red leaf lettuce for the garnish.

NUTRITION FACTS (per 1 1/2 cup - 375 ml serving): 210 calories, 11 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 300 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, 4 g fibre, 4 g sugar, 8 g protein. % Daily Values based on a 2,000 calorie diet are 60% vitamin A, 80% vitamin C, 10% each calcium and iron.

If you like this post you might also like the sorrel and lovage soup with carrot mint puree:

Yours in good taste,
© Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc

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