Fresh from the Garden January 24, 2013Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Garden.
In JANUARY – can you believe it?
Remember how, a couple of weeks ago, we were enjoying some unseasonably balmy weather, so I went out and finished harvesting my kale?
Of course, THIS week, we’re dealing with single-degree temperatures and, well, the only gardening that’s getting done is that I may water the Valentine’s Day cactus soon.
I held back about half a pound of fresh kale before we went on our blanching and freezing spree – after all, what’s the fun of having fresh kale in January if you don’t actually use it, right?
However, it is January, and we are in upstate New York, so the safest bet is in soup. And we do love soup.
I opted to try a new recipe – this one from what is apparently becoming my new favorite website - Vegetarian Times.
A little less meat never hurt anyone!
So the cool thing about this KALE soup is that we start out with one stealthy potato.
It’s like a bonus – you think you’re going to make kale soup, and you get kale and POTATO soup! That single russet potato actually helps thicken the soup very nicely.
We sliced the potato thin (about 1/4 inch), then it, along with all of the flavoring agents (ginger, garlic, jalapeños, coriander, and turmeric), along with the chopped kale stems (if you haven’t already gotten rid of them because you were cleaning a five-gallon bucket full of kale), and saute it a bit in some vegetable oil, then add some vegetable broth to cook until the potatoes are soft.
Here’s the thing, though.
I did have some vegetable broth, but I used it up the last time I made some vegelicious thing. So, in the interest of full disclosure, I used chicken stock instead, so this isn’t strictly vegetarian soup.
Think of it as bi-vegetarian.
So. . .
Once the potatoes were mostly cooked, now we add the kale. A whole pot full of the stuff!
And you know the really sad thing? This barely made a dent in what I had picked that day.
The other really sad thing?
After about 3 minutes in the broth, the big old pot full of bright leafy greens became a little bitty pot not even close to full of cooked-down greens.
That’s just how it goes, I guess.
The pot of soup-to-be simmers for about 20 minutes – until the potatoes are fall-apart done, and the greens are nicely tender.
Then we added about 3/4 cup of tomato sauce – I used the stuff I made last summer. If I were buying it, I’d just go with one of those little cans and call it good. As it is, I had half a pint of tomato sauce left over, give or take, to find something to use it in.
Once we checked seasoning, and everything was cooked, well, then we took the stick blender to it.
Gosh, that thing is cool, isn’t it? It’s so much easier than hauling out the real blender, then, even worse, cleaning it!
So we blended the soup, and we got it all nice and smooth (and green!) and we tried it and thought, “you know, this soup needs some texture.”
And, since I’d just picked up some chick peas at the public market, I soaked them, and Peeps cooked them the next day, at which time we just dumped them right in the soup.
Unfortunately, what I didn’t think to pick up at the market was a cucumber, so the cucumber raita was kind of out of the question.
(Aside: does anyone know – is there a difference between raita and tzatziki, other than the herb/spice used? Seems like pretty much the same thing to me.)
So, since we were cucumber-less, we just put a dab of plain yogurt on top, along with a quick squeeze of lemon juice, and it was good, chicken stock notwithstanding.
I think, in the future, I’d probably double the spices – or at least the ginger. By the time everything was cooked, those bold Indian flavors were kind of washed out. It definitely needed that bit of lemon juice to brighten the flavor, too – and the yogurt helped boost the creaminess.
All in all, though, this Kale Shorba was a very nice use of fresh kale!