The thing that I love, and now miss, the most about the farmers market is that I never know what I’ll come home with. Earlier in the summer I played around with different kinds of eggplants–multi colored thai eggplants, white ruffle eggplants, “regular” eggplants, you name it–but, for the past few weeks, it’s been greens. The other week I scored the largest chinese cabbage I’ve ever seen in my life–the thing must have weighed three pounds–and it cost only $3. There wasn’t any way that I could pass up on a giant Chinese cabbage, even though I had no idea what to do with it, so I carted it home and then started looking around cookbooks and the internet to see what other folks have done with it.
This Chinese cabbage wasn’t a Napa Cabbage, it was a leafy, green thing, kind of like mustard or turnip greens. So when I saw this recipe from the LA Times for Mixed Greens Soup, I figured, why not, I have more than enough green leaves to go in it so why not see how it tastes? I wanted a huge batch of hearty soup, so a potato based, green soup sounded perfect. The end result was delicious–potatoey and green and hearty–and perfect with a slice of fresh baked bread (or three slices…I tend to overdo it with the bread, it’s just so good). The flavor of the greens isn’t intense at all, in fact, the potato seemed to come through more than the greens, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing because it’s all very balanced. The soup, of course, can be made like the original recipe with various different kinds of greens. And the best part was, I still had half of the leaves left over to blanch and freeze!
Chinese Cabbage Soup
adapted from the LA Times
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large carrot, chopped
2 large leeks, chopped, white part only
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 c vegetable broth
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
12 c Chinese cabbage, chopped
1/2 c soy milk
1/4 c nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a medium to large stock pot over medium heat and cook the carrots and leeks until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté an additional minute until fragrant but not browned.
Add the vegetable broth, potato cubes and the chopped greens; stir.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover partially and simmer 1 hour. Remove from heat and purée in a food processor until smooth.
Return the soup to the heat and simmer, uncovered, until it thickens slightly, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the soy milk and nutritional yeast, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper. Serve with bread.