Soup Kitchen: Spicy Red Chard, Spinach and Garlic Soup — Pure Vegetarian!

A hot winter soup a la Mexico — hot and spicy to the taste, hot to warm you on a cold frosty day — couldn’t be better as we curl up in front of the fire dreaming about being in Oaxaca.  We’ve been experimenting this week with a lot of vegetables we have on hand.  This is a made-up, “everything you can think of leftover in your vegetable bin” kind of soup.  It has no oil or meat — just pure vegetable goodness.  We use only organic vegetables.  Is this ever delicious? YES.  So, have at it!

Spicy Red Chard, Spinach and Garlic Soup in Talavera Uriarte bowl from Puebla

Equipment:

8 quart stock pot

Food processor

Wide slotted spoon

Mixing bowl

Spatula

Long-handled spoon for stirring the pot

Soup ladle

Ingredients:

5 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 onion, peeled, quartered

2 bunches fresh spinach, trimmed, cleaned

2 bunches fresh red chard, trimmed, cleaned

1 parsnip, peeled, cut into 3″ pieces

1 or 2 small beets, cleaned with greens intact

1 very large orange sweet potato, peeled, cut into 3″ pieces

1 head broccoli, cleaned, trimmed, including stalks

1 bunch celery, end cut off, cleaned, cut into 3″ pieces

1 box organic cream of tomato soup (Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods)

sea salt to taste; at least 1 T.

1 tsp. red cayenne pepper

2 Tb. turmeric

2 Tb. paprika

juice of 2 large lemons

Directions:

In the food processor, combine garlic and onion and process until minced.  Set aside.

Soup Kitchen: Correcting the Seasoning

Add 6 qts. water to stock pot and bring to boil.  Add all the vegetables, submerging all of them under water.  Simmer over medium heat until root vegetables are cooked, about 10-15 minutes.  With the slotted spoon, remove vegetables from the broth to a mixing bowl.  You will have liquid broth at the bottom of the mixing bowl.  Transfer half the vegetables to the food processor and blend until a smooth puree.  Add remaining vegetables and stock and continue processing until smooth.  Add salt, paprika, cayenne pepper and turmeric.  Process to blend.  Pour mixture into mixing bowl.

Ladle puree back into vegetable stock that has remained in the stock pot.  Stir with long handled spoon.  Add cream of tomato soup.  To get all the soup out of the box, add water from the tap, swish around and pour liquid into stock pot.  Add lemon juice. Stir well.

Bring all to simmer.  Taste.  Correct seasoning by adding more salt if needed.  Garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt.

Serves 12.  Can be frozen.

This soup will be a bright forest green.  I leave this on the burner and sip on it throughout the day.  It is healthy, satisfying, enjoyable and low in calories.

Optional:  I added 1/2 can of vegetarian, organic refried beans that were leftovers in my refrigerator.  This served to thicken the soup and add a bit of bean soup taste to the mix.

Hint:  Try this method with carrots, cabbage, onions, garlic, leeks, scallions, potatoes, cauliflower and any other leftovers you have there in the veggie bin.  You would be amazed at what you can create!

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