Smarter Living: Recipes

soup

Photo: Fahara

In 1995, Michael Rozyne, a 2009 Growing Green Award nominee, founded the nonprofit Red Tomato to distribute fruits and vegetables from Northeastern family farms and small farm co-ops to larger food buyers. Rozyne is also a cofounder of Equal Exchange, which imports and distributes fair trade goods from around the world. The connection isn’t accidental; Rozyne notes that Red Tomato embraces transparency, fair prices to growers, and elevating the importance of the grower in the supply chain.

Although Rozyne enjoys greens fresh from his garden, he says that buying locally isn't always a guarantee of freshness. The farms he works with have refrigeration on site that brings produce down to 40 degrees F. This is essential because, as Rozyne points out, "the management of temperature and humidity are at least as important in maintaining freshness as time and distance. The complete focus on miles in the local food movement ignores the cold chain." He shared with us a favorite spring soup that he makes with produce from his garden.

For this adaptation from Deborah Madison’s The Savory Way (Broadway, 1998), Rozyne recommends using the earliest greens that pop up. “In our garden, we grow sorrel and complement it with dandelion greens and nettles,” he says. “But you could also use mustard greens, broccoli rabe or rhubarb," which has many of the qualities of sorrel. For a recent version, he used dandelion greens, plantains and a huge nettle, which gave the soup a nice sourness that can be tempered with cream, olive oil or butter. If you have your own garden, use what you’ve got: potatoes or other root crops, greens or herbs. If you don’t have a garden, pick out fresh greens at your local farmers' market and create your own version.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. virgin olive oil
  • 2 potatoes (or another root crop from your garden)
  • 2 or 3 leeks, white parts only, sliced into rounds
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 handful parsley leaves
  • 2 cups chopped chard leaves, spinach or tender beet greens
  • 4 cups roughly chopped nettles (handle with gloves until cooked)
  • 2 cups sorrel leaves or 1 stalk rhubarb, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped mustard greens, turnip greens or broccoli rabe
  • 2 cups chopped escarole
  • 2 cups chopped lettuce leaves
  • 1 or 2 handfuls rocket (arugula) leaves
  • 2 quarts water, stock or bean broth
  • Salt to taste
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, butter or cream
  • Coarsely cracked pepper

Method:

  1. Warm the oil in a wide soup pot.
  2. Add potatoes, leeks, carrots, garlic, thyme, parsley and salt.
  3. Stir to coat with the oil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  4. When the leaves have wilted, add water or stock and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer.
  5. Cook about 25 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.
  6. Let the soup cool, then puree it, retaining some texture.
  7. Add salt to taste. Stir in a spoonful of olive oil, cream or butter. Add pepper and serve.

last revised 8/9/2011

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