Thursday, February 18, 2016

Hearty Veggie Soups

One of the best meals on a cold, wintry night is hot soup. It's even better if it's chock full of vegetables.They're not only healthy but tasty too, filled with all sorts of different kinds of greens and fungi. it's a nice way of getting a good dose of nutrients while shaking off a February chill.

Melissa Clark knows this and wrote about it in her A Good Appetite Column in yesterday's New York Times Food section. She gives us three soups, golden leek and potato soup,mushroom-spinach and one that's kind of outside the box caramelized kohlrabi.These can be tweaked with different add ins or whatever can be found in the freezer and the fridge.Just keep the basic vegetables required, in other words, roots for roots, leafy greens for leafy greens , and other alliums for garlic.Another suggestion is  caramelizing the veggies. This eliminates the needs for using stocks or meats to give the soups depth and richness. The veggies melt down to give an intense broth of their own Ms. Clark also recommends using a lot of salt, namely the vastly intense kosher kind.If you need to add stock use the homemade kind.Ms. Clark warns against using the canned or boxed. I usually go for the HerbOx veggie broth cubes which impart a mild yet flavorful taste.Aromatics also count here. Add plenty of them, from herbs to spices to garlic and onions.These are not time intensive recipes luckily , and can be made up within twenty minutes. Home chefs could double the recipe and then freeze what's left for  those busy week nights when cooking is not an option.

The soups are not your usual veggie blends. The first, golden leek and potato starts with a base of golden brown leeks which impart a lovely  sweet taste. There are more of them than potatoes so it does have  more of an  onion-y flavor.Parsley, sage and thyme zing it up, eliminating the usual blandness that sometimes accompanies this soup.You could add chives too as well as scallions for more bite A drizzle of cream is used to decorate the soup afterwards. Her mushroom spinach soup is zested up with Middle Eastern spices such as cumin, coriander, cinnamon and allspice. The mushrooms are mixed with a blend of cremini, oyster,chanterelles and shiitake, chopped and mixed with baby spinach leaves. This really shouldn't be changed, The veggies and spices work well together and give a walk through a souk vibe.Ms. Clakr adds a dollop of yogurt on top for more authenticity.if you want. Serve with hot toasted pita that can be dipped into the soup. The wild card in the trio is caramelized kohlrabi. a kind of turnip,Turnips can be used in this too.. The first step is caramelizing them in a broiler s the onion and garlic are being sauteed. The veggie mix is then pureed  using an immersion blender for a creamy texture.It's topped off with a drizzle of olive oil, grated Parmesan and pinch of chili powder.

Nothing beats a bowl of hot vegetable soup, especially when they provide rich, deep flavor. Make any of these, from the leek and potato to the mushroom spinach to the caramelized kohlrabi. These are perfect to keeping away from February's icy chill.

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