Cold Day, Hot Soup

greens1 1.26.13Greens and beans. Second Week. Soup.

Still January. And…it genuinely got cold. Highs didn’t get out of the 20s this week, and the lows were in the teens. Even some snow.

Winter.

I wanted to make soup anyway, but it felt even righter.

This time I came home with collard greens and dandelion greens. I don’t always double up on greens in one dish, but they’ve been looking so good to me in the store, I can’t walk out of there with just one kind!

Lots of chopping for this one, but then it goes together pretty quick.

I used…

  • 1 bunch collard greens, rinsed and dried
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens, rinsed and dried
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
  • 3 small carrots, diced
  • 3 small parsnips, diced
  • 3 small potatoes, diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf

I decided to start by cooking the greens in a separate pan. A matter of logistics. Since I had such a lot of greens, I decided to start them in a pan with a wider bottom. Then I could spread them out, and they’d take a little less time to cook down, and would be co-cooking while the other vegetables got going. If I’d stuck to one pot, then I would’ve added the greens to the other vegetables after they’d cooked and browned some.

So I got oil heating in the pan for the greens. Trimmed off the ends of the collards, and cut the stalks into thin slices, then into smaller dice-size, tossed them into the pan to start cooking. I like to use the stalks whenever I can, as long they aren’t too fibrous. I’ll cut them into thin slices, and then cut further if I need to, as I did with these, because I wanted something that sits easily on a soup spoon! I cut the leaves in half once and then again, and in some cases even a third time (because collard leaves are like big fans!), to get vertical ribbons, which I cut into smaller squares, again keeping spoon-size in mind. Turned them in the oil to coat them.

I cut the dandelion greens, and added them. A little salt and pepper, stirred, put on the lid, allowing the greens to cook down over a low/medium-low heat.

I heated enough oil to coat the bottom of my soup pot. To that, I added the diced onion and celery, and the minced garlic cloves, and let them soften. Then came the diced carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and dried tarragon, with salt and pepper to taste. I cooked those over a medium heat til softened, and spooned in the cooked greens. Along with a bay leaf, I poured in four cups of vegetable stock and a can of rinsed red kidney beans, checked for seasoning, let it all come to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes to be sure everything was heated through.

And I toasted a thick slice of multigrain bread.

greens2 1.26.13You see it posing in the picture. After the beauty shot, I submerged the bread and let it get soft with the broth. It didn’t complain.

The broth took on the flavor of the greens, which was really nice. And each bite had a different mix of flavors. Sometimes carrot, sometimes parsnip, sometimes the kick of garlic, or the hint of tarragon.

Beautiful, hearty, and warming from the inside out.

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