A Verde Happy Accident
Due to my recent – ahem – “interest” in kohlrabi in the kitchen (ok, we all know it’s an obsession but let’s take the high road here people), I had a lot of leaves on hand, along with those from the beets and turnips used in the Roasted Vegetable Medley. What to do with a towering pile of unfamiliar vegetable greens?
Well, I started out anticipating the creation of a funky version of creamed spinach. I love creamed spinach so why not change it up a bit, right? Wrong. There’s a very key difference between spinach and these root vegetable tops. Spinach is tender. These greens are not. That’s not to say the taste wasn’t good. In fact, dear D put on a brave face and ate a few bites just to assure me the flavor was fine but the texture was a bit wanting. The leftovers sat in the fridge for a bit while I pondered how to write a post about this flop.
It was one of those cartoon light bulb moments while I was reading my book in bed at 8:30 (no, I’m not such an old fart as to go to bed quite so early. The bedroom just happens to be where the air conditioner lives…). Aha! If the taste is good but the texture rough, why not blend it?! Thus the resulting tangy and hearty soup was a bit of a happy accident. By adding some milk and blending, the greens finally gave up their rigidity. And I got to save face in the end, at least for a little while longer.
Oh, and while this soup could easily be served hot, I enjoyed it chilled (remember, my air conditioner lives upstairs, far away from my hot kitchen).
RUSTIC CREAMED VERDE SOUP w/ DRIED CRANBERRIES
5 c. of shredded greens (use a mix or just one kind of leaves from turnips, beets, mustard or kohlrabi)
1 T. extra virgin olive oil or grape seed oil
1 T. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
2 c. broth (veg or chicken)
16 oz. container of lite sour cream
1 t. dried thyme or 1 T. fresh finely chopped
1 c. milk*
2/3 c. dried cranberries
1/2 t. nutmeg
Place the butter and oil in a large saute’ pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion and cook until translucent. Stir in the garlic. Once you start to smell the garlic (a minute or two), gently start adding and stirring the shredded greens. This can be tricky if you don’t have a very large pan as they’ll start to overflow. Just be patient and wait for them to wilt down before adding more if you can’t fit them all in at once. Toss in the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Once all the greens are wilted and a glossy dark green (about 4-5 mins), add the broth and cover the pan. Turn heat down and simmer for up to an hour. The simmer time will vary based on how “young” your greens are since tenderness varies with the age of the plant.
Once the greens are tender, stir in the container of lite sour cream, reserving a 1/4 c. for garnish later. Mix well and add a small handful of cranberries and the thyme. Let heat through for 3 minutes or so. Take the pan off the heat and stir in half the milk. Using an immersion/stick blender (or transfer pan contents to a stand blender), begin to blend the greens mixture. Add more milk as needed to acquire your desired thickness.* Finish blending by adding the dash of nutmeg.
If serving warm, transfer soup back to pan and heat through once again. If serving cold, place soup in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour. To serve, fill a bowl with soup and place a dollop of sour cream in the center and top with a few dried cranberries.
*I liked this soup thick and substantial, thus the “rustic” designation. If you want it lite and smooth, you’ll likely need more milk than specified.