food

Soupe De Jardin (garden soup)

Soup is such a wonderfully forgiving and easy meal to prepare, particularly when one is feeling rather uninspired to cook. Using what is on hand and applying the basic techniques of mirepoix at the beginning, and butter and cream at the end, one can have a simple, nourishing dinner on the table with a glass of wine in no time.

Green and purple string beans hide under foliage. Curly kale holds strong from spring through half the winter. Underfoot, potatoes, garlic, and onions nestle in protected soil. I raided the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator to see what needed to be used up. I found some sad looking zucchini and wilted celery. Perfect!

The base of all soups is mirepoix; a blend of onion, carrot, and celery. This luscious base cooks in a heavy hand of olive oil over medium heat before adding other ingredients. I didn’t harvest carrots because I was enjoying the theme of green vegetables in the soup, but I did add 4 cloves of garlic along with 1 minced red onion, and 2 stalks of celery.

The purple beans turn green when cooked.

I chopped 2 small zucchinis and 2 handfuls of fresh green and purple beans after slicing off their ends. I added that to the mixture for a few minutes while I sent Doug to the root cellar for a jar of homemade chicken broth. One could certainly use vegetable broth but a bit of fat adds liveliness to vegetables. Before adding 4 cups of broth in I generously added salt, pepper, and a pinch of chipotle powder to the vegetables.

I harvested a few red potatoes and chopped them into small pieces along with a big handful of kale. That went into the boiling pot and I let that simmer for ten minutes or so along with a small bunch of basil and chives.

An immersion blender is an amazing thing. A handheld device that quickly turns chunky soups into smooth, green flecked deliciousness.

I did not put the soup back on the heat, as it was rather warm outdoors and we love to eat alfresco. This soup can be served lukewarm. While it was hot, however, I put a good dollop of goat cheese and a tablespoon of butter in and stirred to melt. My grandmother taught me to always add a pat of butter to soup at the end. It truly makes the soup outstanding. If you haven’t added any acids (tomatoes, lemon juice, etc), a good splash of cream finishes the soup. Check seasonings. I added just a bit of sliced ham. I topped the soups with homemade cheese and snipped chives.

Rosemary sourdough drizzled with olive oil, sea salt, and garlic powder then toasted rounds out this delicious summer meal. We enjoyed a nice red wine blend with this soup but a cold Chardonnay would be even better.

May your jardin and farmer’s markets be overflowing with nourishing bounty!

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