The novelty of cutesy soup titles will wear off eventually, but in the meantime, I guess soup is a vaguely entertaining way to distract ourselves from unending weeks of freezing temperatures.
So you're ok with green soup, right? I mean, we're not talking a plehgmy week-old pea soup green. We're talking kelly green, emerald green, GREEN. This is my new favorite winter soup, and the fact that it is perfect for St Patricks Day or, I dunno, Green Day at preschool is just extra happiness.
The recipe originates from a Silver Palate cookbook, but honestly I can't tell you which one. I have a grubby wrinkled & dog eared photocopy of the recipe that I got from someone at work, carried around in my purse for a month or so, and then finally managed to get all the ingredients in the house at one time and decided to dive into the green.
And lest you needed any further encouragement to embrace the green, I'll go ahead & deliver the punch line now: it's got BACON. You know my feelings on that wonder food. Now, technically it can absolutely be made without it, or with those Bac-O chips again, but [sucking teeth] you really want to try the bacon if its at all ok with your ethics/diet plan.
Winter Vegetable Soup
4 slices bacon, cut into 1-in pieces
4 Tb (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 C finely diced leeks (white part and 1 inch green)
1 1/2 C finely diced onions
1 C finely diced celery
1 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp dried thyme (I used fresh, then you'd do about 1 Tbsp)
salt and freshly ground pepper
5 C chicken stock
2 1/2 C finely diced potatoes
1 pound tender spinach, well rinsed, stems removed, cut into 1/8" slivers
1/2 C heavy cream (I use half & half, and I'm pretty sure even whole milk would work)
1. In large soup pot, cook the bacon over low heat, until fat is rendered, 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and discard. [They say discard. *I* say keep keep keep for garnish.]
2. Add the butter to the pot. When it has melted, add the leeks, onions, and celery. Cook over low heat until wilted, 15 minutes. Season with teh tarragon, thyme and salt and pepper. Stir well.
3. Add the stock and potatoes. Cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender but not mushy, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Add half the spinach. Simmer for 1 minutes more.
5. Remove the soup from the heat. Puree half the amount in a blender or food processor, and return the puree to the soup pot. [Here is the part where it is pretty much day-glo green.]
6. Place the pot over low heat, and add the remaining spinach and the cream [cream = deelish. But sadly, it does soften the shade to a brackish jade color.] Heat through, stirring well, but do not boil. Adjust the seasonings, and serve. I top each bowl with a spoonful of sour cream, and the bacon you saved back at the beginning.
You know the drill - serve with crusty bread, a great salad, and you're golden. Or green. Or, you know. Happy & full of soup anyway. Make sure you have brownies for dessert. Bathing suit season is so far off.