Saturday, May 22, 2010

Use Your Booty: Green Soup 1

If you're getting a spring share from your CSA, or if you're tempted by the mountains of springtime vegetables at the farmers' market, there will come a time when you have to face down a MOUNTAIN of leafy greens (you know the ones: those huge bundles of flowering leafy lovelies like mizuna, arugula, rabe, kale, etc.). You could do what most people do: throw them in a bag in the back of your refrigerator and then throw the soggy mess out in a week or so. Or, you could make this soup. (Sorry, I know this picture is just awful - the soup is really a gorgeous emerald green.)

I don't really have a recipe: use what you've got on hand, cook it down and blend it up. But for those who would like a little more direction than that, here you go:

For each person you will need one - two bunches of greens (those four bunches down there made enough soup for two to three servings). Pick the leaves from the stems. You 'll end up with about 4 cups of greens per bunch. Take 1 medium potato per person and slice it super thin. Put the potato in your soup pot and cover it with water. Simmer until the potato is soft and starts to fall apart. Stuff the greens into the pot and add 1-2 cups water (more or less depending on how many you're feeding).

You will think to yourself "this is an obscene amount of vegetation No way in hell can I eat all this." etc. etc. etc. Within 5 minutes that bunch of greens will be cooked down to almost 1/4 of its original mass and you'll start to understand why I had you start with so much.

Keep turning the greens, so the cooked ones come up to the top and the unwilted greens get pushed down into the simmering liquid at the bottom of the bottom. The idea is to get the greens all wilted down and cooking.

Now puree that mess. I like an immersion (or stick) blender because I can do the whole process right in the pot, but if you want the best results use your blender. You'll have to do it in batches, but the blender gives a much finer puree than the hand blender. Either way, puree until very smooth. Then, one step to gild this lily: strain the soup through a medium or fine strainer (you'll find a rubber spatula is helpful to push the soup through. This is a good idea if you've used tougher greens with strong stems; those fibers can be unpleasant to find in your finished soup.

Adjust the soupiness by adding more water if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or very cold, topped with a drizzle of cream or a dollop of yogurt. If your greens had them, the little yellow or white flowers are a lovely garnish. They are a great addition to a green salad too. Keep them in a glass of water, bouquet-style, until you use them up.

Note: for a chance, saute some curry powder or other Indian spices in a little oil first, then add the potato to the pot and proceed as above. Top the soup with yogurt and more spices that you've toasted in oil. The Indian flavors are really nice with the strong green flavor of this soup.
This Summer, I am chronicling my first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) experience. My CSA share is from Arrowhead Farm, a farm based in Newburyport, MA. Each week, I am posting about what was in my share and what I'm doing with it. By way of full disclosure, I won my share through a raffle and am not paying for it. However, Arrowhead did not know I was entered int he raffle, and I received no special consideration because of this blog.

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