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    Entries in Soup (1)

    Thursday
    Mar062014

    Green Soup from the Man Meets Stove cookbook.

    Soundtrack:  It’s Not Easy Being Green by Kermit the Frog

    The chopping in this recipe is quite a bit of work, but what man doesn’t enjoy playing with knives? The great soup makes it worth the work.  If you have a vegan or vegetarian lass, this should at least get you to second base.  Probably farther than that, assuming you’ve been paying attention to what we say here.

    You’re gonna need an hour or two to do this, so throw “The Notebook,” “You’ve Got Mail,” or another happy chick flick into the player while you cook.  Remember to occasionally bring her a glass of wine for lubrication, and a blanket to wrap up in. Set the stage for the bliss to come…

    2 large bunches Swiss chard (or spinach)

    6 cloves garlic, finely chopped   

    2 bunches kale (green leaves only)                        

    9 cups water

    3 cups cilantro, loosely packed                                

    3 large potatoes

    Salt                                                                          

    4 onions, chopped                          

    Olive oil                                                                  

    Freshly ground black pepper

    6 cups vegetable or chicken broth[1]                         

    Juice of one lemon juice, more to taste

    Dash cayenne pepper                                                                                   

    Optional: Heavy cream, Feta cheese, wine

    Wash the greens thoroughly, then cut the chard and kale off their stems, and slice or tear the leaves into 2” chunks. Combine the chard, kale, and cilantro in a soup pot with the water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Peel the potatoes, or just scrub them well, cut them into big pieces, and add to the pot. Bring the water to a boil, reduce 

    the heat, and let the whole mess simmer for about half an hour.  Don’t forget to keep your date properly wined while she’s been waiting.

    Meanwhile, heat a splash of oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the chopped onions and a sprinkle of salt and cook them over low heat until they are golden (caramelized) and soft. This will take up to 45 minutes;[2] don't hurry, you only need to give them a stir once in a while, and it's the slow cooking that develops the sweetness. If you are really bored, go play with your date, just don’t get too involved (if you know what we mean) and burn the onions.  If you like, you can deglaze[3] the pan at the end with a generous splash of Marsala wine or sherry. Increase the heat to medium, and add the Marsala booze. Return it to the stove and cook the onions, stirring for 1 minute. Add the onions to the soup.  Give your date some leftover Marsala you set aside.

    Put another splash of oil in the skillet and cook the garlic over low heat, stirring continuously to keep the garlic from burning, until it sizzles and smells great.  It will probably take 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic to the soup pot and simmer everything for a few minutes more.  Give more wine to your date.

    At this point there won't be much liquid in the soup, so add enough water - up to an additional  3 cups - to make the soup…a soup. Puree the using a hand blender. You can also use a regular blender, if that is what you have, doing a little bit at a time, as much as your blender will handle.  Start the blender slowly and then speed it up, lid tightly on, or you will have hot burning liquid shoot out the top.  Wine, date, repeat.

    Return the soup to the pot, bring it back to a simmer and taste. Add salt as needed, grind in a little black pepper; add the cayenne and the lemon juice. Stir well and taste again. Now you're on your own; correct the seasoning by adding a little salt, broth, or lemon to taste, and then serve these big steaming bowls of green soup piping hot.  By now she may not be able to taste it for the wine…

    We like to garnish this soup with feta cheese. Croutons are always good as well, especially if they're home made from rye or pumpernickel bread. Garlic croutons are da bombe, as the kids say. And of course, there's always sour cream, but because we like the low-fat quality of the soup, we use a spoonful of yogurt instead.

    Now take those bowls out to your lady friend and pop a tasty crouton into her mouth as you do.  We recommend rounding out the meal with a fresh loaf of crusty bakery bread. Use real butter slathered all over the top of it. Tear it with your hands to serve. Butter slathered fingers are a good beginning…

    [1] Like most things, homemade is better, of course

    [2] If you pay close attention, you can do this in much shorter time over higher heat, but keep it stirring.  Don’t burn!

    [3] A fancy word for using a liquid to remove and dissolve the tasty brown caramelized bits of food from a pan to make a pan sauce.