Spring Onion, Barley and White Bean Soup

What do you do when you have spring onions from the farmers market and a big bag of arugula from your neighbor’s garden? Well, I start thinking about soup, the swirl of greens in a hearty mix of beans and barley, and bacon. It’s hard to go wrong with ingredients like that! The soup is a meal in itself but would also be good served with garlic bread or a grilled cheese sandwich.

Recipe very loosely adapted from The New York TimesBarley and Spring Onion Soup With Fava Beans.

Serves 6

Ingredients

3 oz bacon, diced
1/2 lb spring onions, sliced (bulbs and stems)
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup barley
5 oz arugula (or baby spinach)
salt
pepper

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the bacon until the fat renders and the edges start to brown. Add the spring onions and cook until they are slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, thyme, beans and barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until barley is tender, about 1 hour.

Stir in the arugula and cook until wilted and the soup starts to simmer again, about 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Pictured: Corning Ware Spice O’ Life A-5-B Saucepot, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 402 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 401 Round Mixing Bowl

Hearty Kielbasa and Brussels Sprout Soup

Our family loves brussels sprouts. We eat them at almost every holiday meal, and at plenty of regular meals too. I’m thinking my daughter is the only kid in her class who is happy to see brussels sprouts in her lunch bag at school.

This year we happened to have them for dinner on both Christmas Eve (sauteed) and Christmas Day (roasted). And then a few days later, we accidentally ordered 2 lbs more in our Imperfect Produce delivery. So naturally I was looking for a different way to prepare a whole lot of brussels sprouts, and settled on soup.

Kielbasa is commonly paired with cabbage in soups, so why not use brussels sprouts instead? They bring a lot of flavor and texture to the dish, complemented by the subtle smokiness of the kielbasa and smoked paprika. Add some garlic bread and you’ve got the perfect antidote to chilly winter evenings.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb kielbasa, sliced into thin rounds
4 carrots, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
2 small onions (or 1 large), chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 tsp smoked paprika
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 lbs brussels sprouts, sliced thin
salt
pepper

In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute the kielbasa in olive oil until lightly browned. Remove the kielbasa and set aside, leaving the drippings in the pot.

Add the carrots, celery and onion to the pot and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute more. Add bay leaves, smoked paprika, chicken broth and potatoes.

Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in the reserved kielbasa. Simmer for another minute or so until the kielbasa is hot, then serve.

Pictured: Corning Ware Country Festival P-43-B Petite Pan, Corning Ware Fruit Basket P-43-B Petite Pan 

Creamy Broccoli, Kale and Potato Soup

This recipe started as a desire to recreate the homemade cream of broccoli soup I had growing up. These days, all you ever see is broccoli cheddar soup — but the soup I know and love is pure broccoli and cream, no cheese required.

So when I picked up a copy of The Frugal Gourmet at Hope Thrift recently, I was delighted to find that Jeff Smith’s recipe for cream of broccoli soup is the one I remember (in fact, I’m pretty sure my parents had the same book in their kitchen). Of course, I can’t help but tweak things, and I found myself wondering how green the soup would turn out with the addition of some kale, among other changes. The answer is … very green!

I recommend serving with garlic bread or a nice crusty baguette.

Serves 6

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Ingredients

2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb kale (about 1 bunch), stemmed and finely chopped
1 1/2 lb broccoli, finely chopped (including peeled stems and any leaves)
1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup heavy cream
salt
pepper
optional garnishes: fresh parsley, croutons

In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, saute onions and celery in the butter until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Stir in the kale a handful at a time and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the broccoli, potato, chicken broth, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, until the kale, potatoes and broccoli are very tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender (or in a regular blender) until your desired level of smoothness.

Return to low heat and stir in the cream, cooking until the soup is hot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley and/or croutons.

Pictured: Corning Ware Fresh Cut P-43-B Petite Pan (x2), Corning Ware Blue Cornflower P-41-B Petite Pan, Pyrex 508 Measuring Cup

 

Chicken, Sausage and Rice Gumbo with Collard Greens

I hesitate to call this dish gumbo because the term is so loaded with a specific food culture. My version is probably not “authentic” — but it’s delicious and hey, I can make gumbo however I want! I think of it sort of as a gumbo soup — hearty but not too thick in the broth department, full of Cajun flavors and with rice and greens mixed right in.

The spice level here is medium to hot — to me that’s zesty but not mouth-on-fire hot. You could cut the red pepper flakes to go milder, or add cayenne to go hotter. Also, if you prefer a thicker stew, you could double the butter and flour.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

1 lb andouille sausage, sliced
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 14 1/2-oz cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 10-oz bags cleaned and cut collard greens
4 cups cooked brown rice
2 tsp ground gumbo file
salt to taste

In a large dutch oven, saute the sausage over medium heat until browned and the fat begins to render. Remove the sausage and set aside, leaving the drippings in the pan.

Lower the heat slightly, add the butter and stir until melted. Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a whisk until incorporated. Continue stirring constantly and cook until caramel in color, about 15-20 minutes (actual time can vary quite a bit; let the roux get as dark as you want, being careful not to burn).

Add the onions, bell peppers, carrots, celery and garlic and stir until coated in the roux. Add the diced tomatoes and deglaze, scraping up and stirring in the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add chicken broth, thyme, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.

Add the chicken and lower to a simmer. Cover and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle, about 20 minutes. Remove chicken and shred or chop into small pieces, set aside.

Add the collard greens and stir until wilted. Cover and simmer until the greens are tender, about 40 minutes.

Add the gumbo file, sausage, chicken, rice and salt and simmer for a minute, then serve.

Pictured: Pyrex Spring Blossom 443 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Floral Bouquet Third Edition P-43-B Petite Pan, Corning Ware Wildflower P-43-B Petite Pan, Corning Ware Fresh Cut P-43-B Petite Pan, Corning Ware Fruit Basket P-43-B Petite Pan 

 

Rustic Potato Leek Soup with Sausage and Kale

Sausage, potatoes and greens are a classic soup combo that I have made a bunch of different ways. For the sausage I’ve used linguica, Spanish chorizo, andouille, kielbasa. Potatoes could be white beans, barley, rice, quinoa. In place of kale: spinach, collard greens, broccoli leaves. (On a side note, if you ever have a chance to get some broccoli leaves, do it! We were ordering them in our Imperfect Produce box for a while and braising them like other hearty greens — really yummy. I’ve never seen them in stores.)

For this soup I wanted to use some of the flavors of potato leek soup but make it chunkier and brothier, like a stew. If you’re not a fan of kale, you can sub in spinach — add it after the potatoes are cooked and simmer for a minute or so just to cook it lightly.

Whether you opt for kale or spinach, it’s helpful to use an oversized pot, so that there’s plenty of room to accommodate the greens before they wilt and become more manageable. I used a 6 3/4-quart Le Crueset dutch oven, my go-to pot for making soup and cooking greens.

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 lb bulk italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
2 leeks, chopped (white and light green portion only)
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs mixed potatoes, partially peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes (I used russet and red potatoes)
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 bay leaf
10 oz kale (about 2 bunches), stemmed and chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up into bite-sized crumbles, until it’s browned through. Add onions, leeks and celery and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute more.

Add potatoes, chicken broth, wine, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then stir in kale. Bring to a boil again, then turn down the heat, cover and simmer until the potatoes are cooked and the kale is tender, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the cream and heat to warm through, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pictured: Pyrex Butterfly Gold 402 Round Mixing Bowl; Pyrex Spring Blossom 402 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 401 Round Mixing Bowl