Friday, October 24, 2008

More soup!

With school starting up and the weather feeling at least like it goes up and down 10 or 20 degrees randomly throughout the day, cold season is in its fullest. Luckily, so is soup season, and even more luckily I have a soup to cure all colds. Soup also has the added benefit of conveying plenty of liquids, which we need to fight colds and all other manner of illnesses.


A SOUP TO CURE ALL COLDS

Serves: 4; Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook Time: 1-8 hours
The simple, clear broth is soothing and easy to swallow for even the sorest throat, the tons of veggies is just generally good for you, and the best part is the huge chunk of ginger carries all sorts of cold-fighting goodies (oh, and great flavor).

Ingredients
2-3 chicken breasts, cubed
2-3 carrots, chopped
1-2 ribs celery, chopped
1 leek, sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 large or 4-6 small turnips
1 large chunk (2-3 inches) ginger, peeled
4-6 cups stock or chicken broth
Turnip or other greens, roughly chopped

Preparation
Chop, slice, and cube. Toss everything except the greens into a big pot on the stovetop or into a crockpot. About fifteen minutes before serving, add the greens.

A few notes on the ingredients: potatoes can replace the turnips, but turnips have a wonderfully sweet tenderness that contrasts perfectly with the spice of the ginger, and at the farmers’ market at least they come with greens. White, yellow, or green onions—all of which are in season—can replace the leeks. Green beans and broccoli also go nicely in this soup, but if you put in too many different vegetables the unique flavor of each one is sometimes lost. In this soup where simplicity rules, I find that singularity works best.

CREAM OF BROCCOLI SOUP
Serves: 4 Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 30-45 minutes

Ingredients:
2 leeks (or 2 small or 1 large onion), finely sliced
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 bunch of broccoli (2-3 heads with stems attached)
4-6 cups stock or chicken broth
1 dried hot red pepper or crushed red pepper
½ cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
1 dash cream or half and half
Olive oil
Salt
pepper

Preparation:
Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a big soup pot and then sauté the leeks or onions until nice and soft, 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, peel and dice the potatoes, cut and break the broccoli florets into thumb-sized pieces, and peel and roughly cut the broccoli stems. Toss potatoes and broccoli into the pot, add stock or broth making sure you have enough to cover the veggies. Salt and pepper to taste. I can’t give enough praise for Green on Greens’ suggestion to add a little hot pepper to cream of broccoli soup. I prefer the dried Chinese red peppers, and use a whole one. This gives the soup a nice kick, but it’s tempered by the cheese and cream you’ll add at the end. Crushed red pepper also works quite well. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, until the broccoli and potatoes are soft. Turn off soup and blend until smooth with an immersion blender. (Or in a regular blender in batches). Just before serving, add cheese and cream. This soup freezes very well.

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