Bowl of happiness. That’s what it is.
It’s slowly turning autumn here without it having been summer yet. I was robbed of my summer! But in all honesty, summer heat never did much for me. I just never cared a whole lot.
Autumn has always been my favorite season. Golden leaves twirling down, hearing the wind howl around the house, rain vigorously hitting the window pane while I’m curled up on the couch. I love those long, dark and quiet evenings with a cosy lit fireplace, lots of candles and the scent of vanilla incense. Just give me a good glass of wine, some dreamy soft background music and great company. That’s home and happiness to me.
But the best thing has to be the smoky flavors of autumn. The hearty soups and stews, the sturdy greens, the steaming hot potatoes, the big tins filled with copious amounts of crisp, roasted vegetables. Good, honest and wholesome food with, occassionally, a little modern twist.
3 cups frozen peas
10 oz fresh spinach, rinsed
4 cups chicken broth
1 garlic clove
Optional: leftover chicken or turkey
The greens. Well, part of the greens that is. Here’s 3 cups frozen peas along with some fresh mint and basil.
More essential greens. Roughly 10 oz washed and dried spinach.
Coarsely chop the onion and grate the garlic. The garlic seems to be missing in my photo. Shame on me. There’s no fundamental excuse for this.
Get a large soup or sauce pan (this would be a great time to reinstate your Dutch oven!), pour 2 tbsp olive oil in there and sautee the onions and garlic over medium heat. It’s important to not let the onions brown. Once they’re translucent add your basil, mint (to taste), and spinach. When the spinach has shrunken, add the peas as well. Got everything in there? Good, now pour in the broth.
There they are! My babies! Admit you’re getting used to my spoons making an appearance! Drop 1/2 to 1 tsp of salt in there as well. Or season afterwards, if you like.
Bring the soup to a boil, but as soon as it’s boiling, remove pan from heat. Now puree it. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but you want to turn the whole thing into a smooth, creamy soup without any bits or parts floating in there. Unless you specifically want them floating in there, of course. I used a rod mixer because I can leave the soup in the pan that way (yes, I’m lazy), but you can also do this with a food processor, blender, or possibly even a hand mixer (never tried that, though). Steam broke the focus a bit. Sorry ’bout that.
Put the soup back on the stove and simmer over very low heat while you move on with the rest of the recipe. Let’s get a bit of crunch in there. Peel half a cucumber and mince it. I used about 2 cups. You can also do this with radish (will give a pretty color contrast to your soup).
Now I omitted this step, but if you have some leftover chicken or turkey -even a small handful of pasta will work beautifully- bake until light crispy and put it in there as well. Give the soup 5 more minutes over low heat. Garnish with cucumber slices, basil or parsley (maybe even a few whole peas) and sprinkle a little chopped chili pepper for a bit of heat and color effect. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try a little crumbled feta on top! Serve with warm toasted bread slices.
I just can’t help it. I love bright colored foods.