Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s nice to warm up on winter nights with a light, simple soup. It’s great to have the ample servings of turkey and dressing, ham, pies, cookies and candies during this season, but in between, take a break. It’s like watching a holiday movie one day with a cup of mulled cider because you’re tired of the holiday shopping. And soup is a natural for cold weather, of course.
Collard greens are best from the garden, especially picked while young, but can often be found at the grocery store. If you can’t, it is fine to use spinach, and you might prefer to use spinach if you like a subtler taste. Paired with good old standbys potatoes and carrots, and just a little seasoning, this soup turns out to have a surprisingly deep flavor. If you’re vegetarian you can use vegetable stock instead. Collard greens are usually cooked with bacon or pork because the strong salty flavor helps the greens taste like meat. But I like to taste the greens in the forefront, rather than just have greens that taste like bacon. (Sorry, all of you who are part of the “bacon makes everything better” movement.)
Warm, easy soup lifts your spirits, helps you reflect on the true meaning of this season, and assists you in seeing past the endless gray days to see the beauty of a cold, sleeping world. It’s a world that is resting, building its energy to produce a colorful array of produce come spring and summer.
Greens, Potato and Carrot Soup
1 pound collard greens
4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped
½ cup chicken stock plus three cups chicken stock
1 cup chopped leeks (white part only)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teas. celery seed
1 teas. dill weed
Salt and pepper
Thoroughly wash collard greens, then cut off stems and larger rib pieces. Discard stems and ribs. Tear greens into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. In a large pan, boil 4 cups of water, then add potatoes and carrots and boil for 15 minutes, or until soft. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, place half cup of chicken stock, leeks, garlic, celery seed, dill weed, and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and carrots. Add saucepan contents to potatoes and carrots, then add three cups chicken stock. Simmer, adding collard greens and cooking them in the soup for about two minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Can also puree this soup before serving.