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Thursday, April 28, 2011 11:02 pm

Spring pottage tonic


This gorgeously vibrant green soup is as delicious as it is nutritious. I’ve never used a precise recipe; just simmered a bunch of whatever greens I grew or could find in water or stock. What follows below is meant more as a guide than something to be strictly followed with specific instructions and amounts. I always include at least one or more members of the allium family: scallions/green onions, ramps, green garlic (young garlic with green tops), ramps, chives, garlic chives, spring onions etc. A potato or two adds little extra body. Garnish with a bit of heavy cream or sour cream if you’d like. 

  • Approximately 8 c. early spring greens, either wild or cultivated
  • At least 1 c. chopped white parts of scallions, green garlic, ramps, or other alliums
  • PLUS the green parts, chopped and kept separate
  • 1-2 T. unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1-2 baking potatoes, about 1 pound, peeled and diced
  • 4 c. chicken or vegetable stock, or water, plus additional if needed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Heavy or sour cream for garnish, optional
If using stinging nettles, be sure to wear gloves while cleaning. Wash the greens, then remove the leaves and small stems from their stalks. Discard the stems and any discolored leaves. Let the leaves drain while you prepare the rest of the soup.

Heat the butter or oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add the white parts of whatever alliums you’re using and cook until they are softened but not brown. Add the potatoes and liquid, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Add the greens, including the allium greens, and cook just until they are completely tender. This can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes depending on the varieties used, but be sure to not to let them overcook so that the brilliant green color turns khaki.

Immediately plunge the pot into a sink filled with cold water. Stir the mixture so that it cools down rapidly; you may need to drain and refill the sink with more cold water. It doesn’t have to be completely chilled, just cool enough to stop the cooking.

Purée the soup in a blender, immersion blender or food processor. It can be refrigerated at this point several days ahead. Reheat gently before serving and garnish with a spoonful of heavy cream or sour cream if desired. Serves 4 – 8.

Note: this soup is also delicious served cold. I’ve also used leftover soup as a sauce for such things as grilled salmon and sautéed scallops.
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