mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Could it be a haaaarte beast-- uh, soup?

(That's a variation on a Flanders and Swann line, was anyone wondering)

I've always been afraid of those bunches of green things in the produce department. Collards, rapini, dandelion greens, chard. No idea how to cook them short of indigestion-producing 'saute in oil with garlic.' There's a way of doing sorrel with lemon, but no one ever has sorrel. And meantime all the nutrition books tell you to eat leafy green veg, but there's only so many salads one can put up with.

Then I bethought me of the soup we had every evening in northern Spain and how yum the (unidentified) green things were in that. So I googled Caldo Gallego and found the following recipe, which I cooked with modifications (like a fraction of the meat and no tomatoes.) No it doesn't taste like the soups of Léon and Berceria. Still tastes good.

Serves 6

* Oil
* 2 cups diced onion
* 1 cup diced celery
* 1 cup diced carrot
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/2 pound dried chick peas that have been soaking overnight
* 4 cups chicken broth
* 4 cups water
* 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
* 1 canful water
* 1/2 pound pastrami, diced
* 1/2 pound baked ham, diced
* 5 to 6 cups chopped greens such as kale or Swiss chard

1. Briskly sauté the onion in oil. Add the celery and carrot as they are diced.

2. When the onion browns, add the garlic and herbs. Give them a minute or two, then add the chick peas, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, them back to a gentle simmer. Cover and forget about it for an hour. Or until the chick peas are almost done. (J note: If using canned beans, which you should because dried chickpeas *never cook*, forget the hour simmer and go straight to the next. And if using bacon instead of ham, cook the onions with that.)

3. Add the tomatoes, water, ham and pastrami. Cover and simmer for another half hour or so--until the chick peas are fully cooked.

4. Roughly chop the greens and add them to the soup. Cook for 15 minutes, or until they are tender and no longer bitter. Season the soup with salt and pepper and serve.

There's an even simpler lentil and chard soup that I made, and added rice, and produced marvellous mush thereby.

Lemon lentil chard soup

(all measurements approximate, just guidelines for a start. add more or use less of whatever.)

1 1/2 cups lentils
7 - 8 cups water
4 beef boullion cubes (or use home made soup stock, or use butter or other fats for flavor)
1 potato, diced
1 1/2 pound (big bunch) swiss chard
1 onion, chopped
4 to 6 tbsp oil or butter or other fat
3 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon (or more, to taste)
optional: fresh coriander/cilantro leaves

put everything but the lemon juice and fresh cilantro in a pot and simmer about 45 minutes to an hour, until lentils are done, vegetables are tender, and soup a bit thickened.
(add about 1 tablespoon of flour for thicker soup.)
add the lemon juice and fresh leaves a few minutes before serving.
Tags: food

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