Last week was a doozy. It commenced with Dahlia getting scarlet fever. Apparently that 19th century malady -- the terror that blinded Mary in the Little House books, that dreaded disease of the Velveteen Rabbit -- is still with us, albeit in a milder form. The name itself would have scared the heck out of me if I hadn't seen that really, my kid was okay except for having a 102 fever and a ruby rash all over her body. Uncomfortable, yes. In life threatening peril, not so much. But she was down, and then I fell too with some awful sore throat thing that may or may not have been strep but was most definitely unpleasant.
What I needed was soup. Not chicken soup. Too wintery for the moment. I wanted a soothing soup that tasted like spring. Or at least, like the spring onions, spring garlic, ruffled cilantro, and spinach I took home from the greenmarket before I collapsed into a feverish heap. Something green and fortifying, and pureed so I would haven't to chew.
From the freezer, out came the last of my Thanksgiving turkey stock. (It is amazing to me just how much turkey stock tastes like turkey. It tastes more like turkey than turkey does.) I grabbed a couple of yellow potatoes from the bin and then simmered it all together, finishing the top with a squeeze of sunny lemon.
It was a green, cleansing, spring tonic of a soup. Just what I needed to make me well. Dahlia wouldn't touch it by the way (too green) but she got better nonetheless.
Green, Spring Things Soup
Serves 4 ish
4 tablespoons unsalted butter or more (I used a stick, I'll admit it, but you don't need that much)
1 bunch spring onions, chopped (white and light green parts, about 2 cups), or use 2 bunces scallions
1 bulb green spring garlic, chopped (or use 3 regular garlic cloves)
1-2 teaspoons salt, more as needed (depending on your stock)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 quart stock (poultry or vegetable)
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed (I used 2 large Yukon golds)
1 bunch young spinach, chopped (about 1 quart)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
1 lemon, halved
1/2 cup chopped dark green spring onion or scallion tops, for garnish
1. In a large pot over medium-high heat melt butter and add spring onions and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent and soft. Add green garlic, salt and pepper and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes.
2. Add stock and 1 quart of water and bring to a simmer. Add potatoes and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue simmering until potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Add spinach and cilantro leaves and continue simmering for another 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted and soft.
4. With an immersion blender, puree soup to desired consistency. Or puree soup in batches in a blender.
5. Just before serving, squeeze half the lemon into the soup, stirring it well and tasting as you squeeze. If it needs more, squeeze some from the other half. When it tastes right, stop with the lemon. Finish each serving with a sprinkling of cilantro and onion tops.