This one’s for my Feebs: smooth, silky, soy-free and packed full of nutritional goodness.
I’m a firm believer in supporting local, organic agriculture, especially when there’s a co-op involved. This is our second year with ferme du Zéphyr, and so far we haven’t lost the excitement that bubbles up whenever we head over to pick up our basket. What will they have given us this week? Will there be a vegetable that I can’t identify? What will I do if they give us a whack of swiss chard? This last question popped into my head as I stood in front of the fridge facing a hideous amount of swiss chard. For those of you who don’t know, swiss chard is a lot like spinach, but with a bit of a bitter undertone (at least to my palate). I decided the best thing to do was throw it into a giant pot with a bunch of other seasonal veggies and herbs – what better way to use it all up and get a tasty summer soup in the process? The brilliant thing about this soup is that it’s the kind of soup that you can throw together faster than you can sneeze (well, almost) and then wander off and do other stuff while it’s cooking, you can serve it hot or cold, and you can dress it up in a wide variety of ways (see below). I’d suggest some summery tunes from the Beach Boys‘ Surfin’ USA album for this one.
Gather up your finest summer goodness:
- 2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 shallots, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic scapes, roughly chopped
- 1 potato, chopped
- about 6 cups of swiss chard, chopped (you can use spinach or a combo of other greens if push comes to shove)
- about 2 cups green peas, fresh or frozen (keep half separate if you want whole peas in the soup)
- 2 cups veggie broth
- 1 cup coconut milk (or any of the “other” milks)
- about 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced, but you can easily put more if you so desire
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Heat the oil in a large saucepan then add the onion, garlic, shallots and garlic scapes. Sauté until browned and fragrant over medium heat. Add the potato and stir around for a bit, then add the swiss chard and peas (just half if you’re being schmancy). Add the veggie broth, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes or until the veggies have pretty well turned to mush. This is when you haul out your trusty hand blender (yay!) or you carefully ladle the soup, in batches, into a food processor or blender (boo!). Blend the soup until smooth, then add the coconut milk and about 1/2 to 1 cup of water if the soup is too thick. Stir in the remaining peas (again, only if you’re feeling schmancy) and rosemary, then add sea salt and ground black pepper to taste.
So now come the variations, which aren’t so much dependent on what you do WITH the soup, as what you do TO the soup. As I mentioned, you can serve this hot or cold. When serving it hot, you could sprinkle oven-roasted garlic croutons (toss some chunks of bread in a freezer bag with some garlic powder, salt, pepper and olive oil then roast on a baking sheet until browned) in each bowl right before serving, or some roasted chickpeas. When serving cold, you could carefully lay cucumber slices that have been soaked in a little rice vinegar and roasted sesame oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds on the surface of the soup before serving. Think outside the soup bowl people – the list is endless!