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Friday, September 13, 2013

Farmer's Market Soup

Because it's totally appropriate to make soup on a 96 degree day!

I went home last weekend for a visit.  Actually, I've gone home the last four or so weekends, but this was the first time I was able to head down to the farmer's market while there.  Sure, there's a market here in Kalamazoo, but the one in Muskegon is bigger, near the lake, and holds with it much nostalgia of going to the flea market with my mom as a kid, and doing my "grocery shopping" with a certain boy every Saturday during the last summer I lived there.

As expected, the market was everything I hoped for and more!  My first stop was at the Laughing Tree Bakery's booth for a vegan Treehugger cookie (an absolute must!).  Then I roamed around for about an hour, walking up and down the rows about three times, admiring all the beautiful produce while eating my cookie and drinking coffee.  [How magical is that???  I half expected to see unicorns prancing by!]  I ended up spending more money than I had expected to, but hey!  What better things to splurge on than fresh produce???  I brought home with me corn on the cob, green beans, red-skinned potatoes, an onion, garlic, and some absolutely beautiful swiss chard.

I hadn't a clue what I was going to make with all these goodies, but I didn't care.  I knew I'd come up with something.

Well, between the heat and the 1 1/2 hour drive back to my apartment, my chard got pretty wilty.  And since I've been so busy with work and school, my dreams of making a fancy, complicated sort of dish were shot down and I was forced to make a one-pot meal.  Actually, these veggies blended together quite deliciously in the soup I made.  The chard had more of a bitter flavor than I remembered, but my favorite bites of soup were when the sweet corn and chard were together.  I bet swiss chard and sweet potatoes would be a lovely combination.  Hmmm....

So yeah, it was stupidly hot on the day I decided to make this, but this soup kicks butt.  The creaminess comes from the potatoes blended with milk and veggie broth, so it's hearty without being high in fat.  And I was able to use all of my veggies before they went bad!  OK, so the yield was enough to feed a small army.  Maybe you should cut the recipe in half?  I'll leave that up to you.

2 lbs red skinned potatoes, quartered (or cut smaller if they're large potatoes)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, trimmed, and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces; leaves cut into ribbons
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 ear of corn, cut from the cob (or 1 cup of corn)
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups non-dairy milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast, optional
1-2 cups water, if needed
2 tsp dill
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper

In a large soup pot, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil.  Oh yeah, toss some salt into that potato water, would you?  After about 5-7 minutes, remove about half of the potatoes and set aside for a bit.  Continue cooking the rest of the potatoes in the water until very soft, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet on medium heat and add onion, garlic, and chard stems.  Saute for about 5-6 minutes until onions are starting to get soft.  Add the green beans, corn, and reserved potatoes, and cook for another 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover with a lid and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, checking that the potatoes don't get too mushy.

When the potatoes in the pot are soft, drain the water and return the potatoes to the pot.  We want to blend the potatoes with the broth and milk and nutritional yeast, if using.  If you have an immersion blender, you can do this right in the pot.  If not, you can use a blender or food processor for this step.  If the potato-broth-milk mixture seems too thick, add water, one cup at a time, until the soup has reached your desired consistency.

OK, your potato broth should be in the soup pot now.  Take the skillet off the stove, and dump those veggies into the potato mixture.  Add the dill, poultry seasoning, and thyme, and stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in the chard leaves and cook the soup for 5-8 minutes, until leaves are soft and everything has heated through.

Yield: So. Much. Soup.
    I don't know, maybe 10 servings?  Perhaps you could invite some friends over.  Or freeze half of it.

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