Soup season, for me, runs from October to March or April. I like my soups to be thick and filling. This soup is a vibrant green color and looks especially good when served in a white soup bowl. The addition of some Colman’s Mustard adds a little piquancy to this very healthy dish.
1 tbsp olive oil, seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion – roughly chopped
3 leeks – sliced
3 medium heads of broccoli – roughly chopped
10 oz baby spinach
3 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp. Colman’s Mustard Powder mixed with an equal amount of cold water (it needs 10 minutes to stand before using)
Heat seasoned oil in a Dutch oven and, when sizzling, add the onion and let soften and brown.
Add the leeks and let soften a little before adding the broccoli, spinach and broth.
Bring to a boil the let simmer for 15 minutes.
Add mustard mixture and cook for 5 more minutes.
Vegetables are so versatile. Why just have sprouts on their own when they can be teamed with leeks and ginger, for instance?. The sprouts are pan fried with the ginger then leeks, lime juice, lime zest, a few drops of yuzu and vegetable broth are added.
Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit with an intense flavor, so only a few drops are needed. It can be used in sweet and savory dishes and also salad dressings. It is becoming more popular on menus. I buy my yuzu juice online as I haven’t found it locally.
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. ginger – peeled and grated
1 pound of Brussels sprouts – halved or quartered depending on size of sprout
3 medium size leeks – use only the whiteish parts, wash thoroughly and slice thinly
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Zest of 1/2 a lime
A few drops of Yuzu juice
2 tbsp. vegetable broth
Place the seasoned olive oil in a skillet and when oil is sizzling add the ginger, turn the heat down and cook for a minute or so until you can smell the ginger.
Add sprouts and cook until they are nicely browned. This will take 10 minutes or so. Turning them over frequently.
Add leeks, lime zest, lime juice, yuzu juice and vegetable broth and cook until leeks are softish – 3 to 5 minutes.
Soup comes in an endless variety of flavors and textures. It can be hot or cold; it can be thick or thin; it is supposedly curative – think chicken noodle soup. Discovering that my butcher sold smoked ham hocks without the dreaded nitrites persuaded me to experiment with a new soup (no seasoning needed – hock provides just the right amount of saltiness) and this soup hits the spot – it is thick, full of nutritious veg. and then there is the lovely backdrop flavor that comes from the smoked ham hock and some of its meat.
Adding a smoked ham hock (a cut of meat from the leg just above the foot) to the veg. and broth makes a world of difference to the taste. This soup is best made in a slow cooker and cooked for some 6 hours. At the end of cooking the ham will be dropping off the bone. In fact you should pull it off using two forks and half of the ‘pulled’ meat can be added to the soup and processed in the food processor. The bone and skin can be discarded. Some of the rest of the meat can be used to garnish the soup and the remainder used for other purposes – for breakfast with eggs, for example.
1 x 1 1/2 pound smoked ham hock (uncured if possible)
3 leeks – sliced
2 large garlic cloves – grated
1 x 19 oz can of cannelini beans
2 cups veg. broth
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Place all ingredients, in the order listed above, in a slow cooker. Cook on ‘high’ for 6 hours.
Then, remove the ham hock from slow cooker, take the meat off the bone and remove the skin. Throw out the bone and skin.
Transfer contents of slow cooker to a food processor and process, adding half of the reserved ham in small pieces.
When serving, ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle a little of the ham, finely chopped, onto the soup.
When I worked in France we were given lunch vouchers to be used at participating local restaurants. I was constantly surprised by the type and quality of the food provided – a 3 course meal – for very little money. Often the appetizers/starters were like this recipe – simple, cheap and tasty. And Leeks Vinaigrette is quick to make too.
Take 3 leeks and top, tail, take off outer leaves and slice thinly.
Pop into boiling water and cook for only a couple of minutes (just about the same time as it takes to make the vinaigrette). Drain and let cool.
For vinaigrette – take 1 teasp. Dijon mustard and add 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar. Stir together till smooth. Add 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir or whisk until emulsified (better still place in screw top jar and shake).
Spring Green Soup (serves 4)
Think asparagus, fresh peas, if possible, and leeks cooked in veg. broth/stock and pureed. Soup can be eaten hot or chilled. Looks lovely served in a white soup dish (I wish, mine are in storage!).
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 x large leeks – thinly sliced
1 x bunch of asparagus – cut into chunks
1 cup peas
3 cups veg. broth/stock
Heat tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. When sizzling add leeks and cook for a few minutes.
Add asparagus, peas and stock.
Bring to boil then simmer for 15 minutes.
Puree in food processor.
Pork Tenderloin Stacks (serves 4)
Dinner party worthy or a good Sunday roast dish. I love the UK tradition of Sunday lunch. Grew up having a Sunday roast – nothing better than a joint with roast potatoes, a couple of veg. + gravy and condiments – mustard, horseradish, mint sauce, red currant jelly, apple sauce, depending on the meat. My parents still have a roast for the 2 of them every Sunday. This recipe came to me, as a lot of my recipes do, as I was walking my dog (while dog walking, I plan my day). I had a pork tenderloin in the freezer from the Farmer’s Market and I always serve it in slices. I thought that I could cut a potato into slices roughly the same size as a slice of pork tenderloin. Then, I thought I could brush the cooked potato with Dijon mustard. Then I thought about a vegetable and came up with a spinach, leek and garlic puree. Icing on cake – drizzle stack with jus/gravy. When I then cooked all this it was SO delicious and different – a real winner and it is not complicated. The spinach/leek puree can be a side dish on its own and served with many different recipes.
Jus/gravy was juices from pork tenderloin + 1/2 glass of wine + some water + juices from spinach/leek mixture.
1 x pork tenderloin – cook according to weight. Rub with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper before cooking. I placed it on a metal slatted grid above a roasting tray.
1 X large baking potato – rinsed and cut in 1/2 inch slices (2 per person). Keep skin on for extra nutrition.
1/2 glass white wine
Water – if necessary
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 x cloves garlic – finely chopped
2 x leeks – finely chopped
10 oz. baby spinach – rinsed and drained
If you are going to cook this and serve it immediately versus heat it up you will have to work backward through this recipe.
Pop tenderloin in oven and cook till well cooked, then cut into slices.
Place potato slices in a large skillet and cover with vegetable broth/stock. Bring to boil and simmer until soft but not mushy.
Remove potato slices to a plate, reserve left over broth/stock.
De-glaze pan with 1/2 glass of white wine.
Heat olive oil and when sizzling add leeks and garlic and let soften for a few minutes.
Then add rinsed and drained baby spinach (the water left on the leaves will help wilt the spinach leaves) and cook until spinach is just wilted.
Process leek/spinach mixture in food processor (any juice left should be added to jus/gravy + water if needed for jus/gravy).
Assemble food – slice of potato spread with Dijon mustard, slice of pork, spoonful of leek/spinach puree, spoonful of jus/gravy drizzled over – 2 of these per person.
All Kinds of Vegetables in a Pot (serves 4)
Excuse the title but at the moment I am stumped for a better one – Vegetable Stew maybe? I experimented with a variety of vegetables and it came together nicely – I mixed leeks and garlic together so didn’t need onions. Vegetable stock and lemon juice were the liquids. Powdered red pepper added a bite. The remaining veg. were zucchini, kale, cannellini beans and artichokes. I put some kale in because it is such a healthy food more than for any other reason. This recipe is light and easy on the stomach, which might account for its creation as yesterday I ate something that really disagreed with my intolerances and have had a tender stomach since then. It was a nasty reminder of how I used to feel. Vegetables in a Pot requires minimal cooking (I don’t like over-cooked zucchini).
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper
2 x cloves of garlic – finely chopped
2 x leeks – finely sliced
2 x zucchini – sliced and each slice quartered (not finely sliced)
2 handfuls of kale
1 x can of cannellini beans
1 x can of quartered artichoke hearts
1 cup of vegetable broth
1/2 teasp. of powdered red pepper (less if you don’t like things too spicy)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Heat oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add garlic and leeks and soften for a few minutes.
Add rest of ingredients, bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes or so until zucchini is al dente and kale is cooked.
**Little Known Food Fact**
Not sure if pink Himalyan salt is a food fad and over-hyped, but I bought some. It is meant to be better for you and to contain some 80 minerals! Regular table salt has been stripped of all its minerals though it does contain iodine. Some say white salt = white sugar.