Spring has sprung! Well, on the calendar at least. Mother nature may or may not have gotten the memo. Rainy, cold days plus a desire to stay on track for a healthy summer bod call for healthy comfort food. Enter, soup.
Annie’s Pick: Caldo Verde aka Portuguese Green Soup
Don’t be fooled, this is no watery kale snooze. When I was younger, we were stationed in the Azores islands for a few years and this is one of the recipes we brought home. This is a hearty potato-leek soup with added linguisa and winter greens. It’s made to warm you from the inside out when Atlantic Ocean hurricanes come howling across the island and it. is. amazing. It’s also pretty dang healthy if you get good quality sausage, but we won’t dwell on that.
Tip on leeks: Slice before you wash, throw into a bowl of water, swish around and then let sit so the dirt settles, scoop the leeks off the top of the water into a colander, voila! Clean leeks.
- Linguisa or other spicy sausage, to make non-spicy can use sweet Italian, cut into coins. If thick casing, remove.
- Olive oil
- 1 leek sliced and washed
- 4 Cups Chicken Broth (bone broth is great)
- 3 Bay leaves
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and grated
- 1 Bunch Kale shredded into 1/2 – 1 inch strips, thick stems removed
- Salt and pepper, optional apple cider vinegar and hot sauce
Heat Dutch Oven or other heavy bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Sauté sausage in olive oil until browned, remove and set aside. Add leeks, season with salt and pepper and sauté in rendered fat until soft and beginning to be translucent, then remove and set aside. Add broth to hot oil and use wooden spoon to deglaze all the browned bits. Bring broth to a boil. Add Bay leaves. When boiling, add potato and cook about 10 minutes or until very soft. Add kale and cook 10 more minutes at a simmer. Stir in reserved sausage and leeks. Add salt and pepper to taste. If thinner consistency is desired, can add more broth or a splash of apple cider vinegar. If you want extra spice, add a splash of hot sauce on top. Serve piping hot with garlic toast.
Christiana’s Pick: Vegetarian Bisque
This soup is creamy, rich, and all of the things a bisque means to me, somehow achieved through the magic combination of roasted vegetables, broth, cream, and (you guessed it) wine. I’ve recently pumped up this soup with added protein by sautéing tofu in an herb-butter sauce that is nothing short of divine. This soup is our go-to comfort food for its hearty nutrition and incredible flexibility. You can really use almost any combination of vegetables here, (basically whatever is left in your fridge) centered around the staple, a sweet butternut squash. And since all the veggies are blended, chopping doesn’t have to be fine or precise. You can also roast all of the vegetables hours (or days) in advance and blend & warm on the day of serving. Easy, peasy, veggie squeezy. 🙂
Tip on Butternut squash: To easily prep this beastly gourd, simply halve lengthwise and remove seeds. Smother in olive oil, herbs (like herbs de provence), salt, and fresh ground pepper, and roast at 400 until fragrant and lightly browned, about 50 minutes. No hacking and chopping required. Line pan with foil for easy clean-up.
- 1/2 large butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Roasting vegetables such as:
- 1 red pepper
- 1 zucchini
- 2 potatoes
- 1/2 bunch of cauliflower
- 2-3 carrots
- 1 onion
- 1 head of garlic
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1/2 package of tofu, cubed
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 bunch of fresh rosemary and thyme stems (or another dried herb blend such as herbs de Provence, if fresh are unavailable)
- 3-4 tbsp olive (or other desired) oil for pan and drizzling
- a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Optional garnishes: a dollop of greek yogurt, fresh herbs, or for the carnivores in your life, crumbled Italian sausage.
Coat a roasting pan or cookie sheet with olive oil and preheat oven to 400 F. Place desired roughly chopped roasting vegetables on prepared pan and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and fresh herbs. (I don’t bother chopping the herbs at all, the leaves will crumble easily after roasting.) Halve and core butternut squash, smother with olive oil and herbs.
Roast vegetables in preheated oven for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through. (Do not flip butternut squash.) While vegetables roast, heat dutch oven or preferred soup pot over medium-high heat and add butter, herbs and tofu. Sautee until tofu is lightly browned, 5-7 minutes.
Transfer sauteed tofu and any herb-butter remaining in the pot into a blender or food processor, and reserve the pan. (I have found our vitamix works best.) When vegetables have roasted, allow them to cool and crush roasted herb leaves into your mixer, removing stems. Scoop cooled butternut squash into the blender, discarding the skin. Add half and half, vegetable broth, white wine, and crushed red pepper (if desired) to the mixer, and blend with lid insert removed and dishtowel over hole in lid until creamy, adding more liquid as necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the creamy soup back into the dutch oven and warm. Serve hot with your choice of garnish and of course, my homemade herbed bread. Voila!
Kristy’s Pick: …Flu Fighter Chicken and CousCous Stew
This soup is adapted from a recipe that my neighbor sent to our family when I had a nasty case of a “Flu-Like” virus that had me couch ridden for almost 10 days. This savory, flavor and nutrient dense soup had me back in action before I could say “hand me another tissue”
- 2-3 TBSP Olive oil
- 1 Red onion Diced
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 inch grated ginger root
- 2 Sprigs Thyme
- 1 TBSP Turmeric
- 1 TBSP Kosher Salt
- 1 TBSP Black Pepper
- 1 TBSP Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 TBSP Morroccan Spice mix
- 12 oz bone broth
- 1 Sweet Potato diced
- 2 cooked chicken breasts, pulled
- 1/2 head of cauliflower cut in half and sliced into florets
- 1 cup Large Pearl CousCous
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 bunch kale, torn, large stems removed
- 1 cup Coconut Milk
- Cilantro (for garnish)
Warm wishes to you and yours!