OK, the Dark Days Challenge is over now that we’ve made our way to the Spring Equinox and beyond, but in the spirit of those inventive and inspiring cooks, I offer you my Spring Soup.
One of the many things I have left over from the Dark Days is a chest cold that will not give up and go away. This morning I was reading in the new issue of Clean Eating about some recent research from UCLA on the anti-inflammatory effect of Brassicas on the respiratory tract. Kale is a Brassica and there is kale in the Dirt to Dinner garden pretty much year round. I also had some nice chicken stock waiting for a good use. A delicious and curative soup began to simmer in the back of my mind. A quick tour through the garden turned up beautifully red Cincinnati Market radishes, Yellowstone carrots, a few small Nantes carrots, celery, Italian parsley, Tokyo Market turnips, a parsnip that looked a bit worse for wear and plenty of broad-leafed kale.
I saved half of the radishes for a braise I have been waiting to try with them, chopped up the rest and sautéed them in olive oil with an onion, a tablespoon of garlic and everything but the kale. When the vegetables were tender, I added the stock, turned up the heat a bit and quickly finished cleaning and chopping the kale. As soon as the stock was at a healthy simmer, I tossed in the kale and covered the pot for three minutes while I dug out the food processor.
With the kale wilted but still a nice bright green, I turned the soup down to Low and processed batches of it in the food processor until it was a lot smoother, but still a bit chunky. If you want more of a cream of kale soup, process until smooth. The finished product called out to me for a dusting of nice Parmesan. Sadly, not local, but I have to admit it was delicious. A dash of hot pepper might be tasty. I plan to try that in my next bowl. Enjoy!