After a long weekend of holiday eating, including a very rich and tasty Boeuf Bourguignon (aka Beef Burgandy) along with an assortment of cookies, chocolates, and other sweets, something light, refreshing, and homey sounded like a nice alternative. Although a (Brooklyn Brewery) black chocolate stout bread pudding is on my to-do list.
I came across this soup in the January 2012 Bon Appetit that I picked up in the airport, while waiting for my plane to arrive (a quick stop in Chicago before heading to Detroit). Did I mention that I got up at 3:30 a.m. for a 6:00 a.m. flight that ended up being delayed two hours. Despite the hassles of airline travel, it’s always nice to get back to Chicago, even if only for 24 hours. A quick fun-filled trip of eating and shopping–loaded up on spices at the Spice House (including some intoxicating smelling truffle salt and my staple go to spice, smoked hot paprika); and of course, a visit to Chicago would not be complete without a stop at one of my favorite Chicago restaurants/wine bars.
This recipe was inspired by London chef, Yotam Ottolenghi, known for his inventive, modern vegetarian dishes. Tweaked the original recipe just a tad. Used a combination of rainbow chard and winter spinach. The spinach by way of Michigan, from a great little food-coop in Ann Arbor. This time of year, spinach is at its prime–large, deeply green leaves, with a more robust flavor compared to its summer varietal. Also, cut back on the parsley, substituted dried coriander for nutmeg, and added a few toasted hazelnuts as garnish (toasted pinenuts would be nice too). If you want to add an extra little touch of decadence to the dish, you can sprinkle a bit of truffle salt or oil over the finished soup–yum!
Spinach, Rainbow Chard, and Feta Soup
Adapted from Bon Appetit (January 2012)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 pound rainbow chard leaves
1/2 pound spinach leaves
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth, store bought or homemade
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoons ground dried coriander
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Feta cheese, crumbled
Toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Fresh mint leaves
Fresh cilantro leaves
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (or truffle oil or olive oil with truffle salt, for a little decadence)
Coarse sea salt
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until translucent and soft (but not browned), 7 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the chard, spinach, broth, parsley, cilantro, mint, and dried coriander. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the lemon and season with salt and pepper. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return to the pot. Can prepare ahead of time and rewarm before serving.
Garnish with a spoonful of yogurt, feta cheese, toasted hazelnuts or pumpkin seeds, fresh chopped herbs, squeeze of lemon juice, and /or drizzle of olive oil (or truffle oil) and season with sea salt (or truffle salt).