May 22nd, 2005
Noting the dribs and drabs of things in the fridge, lettig them tumble about in your brain, and coming up with an idea for a dish is one of my favorite things about cooking. Sure you could just call it using up leftovers, but to me it's a challenge and a good way to engage my brain. Also, I'm sort of pathalogical about wasting things, which is why I hate to buy fattening ingredients that I won't use completely in a recipe. Because part of my brain will want to throw the remainder out, while a larger part of my brain will scream out that it's just wrong to throw out half of a $1.99 pint of whipping cream. So fattening recipes tend to create their own little satellite bad-for-you dishes, it's a domino effect.
Anway, yesterday I had one of those half pints of cream leftover from the uber-fattening Onion Galette, and some new potatoes and greens from my produce box. I decided to look for a creamy potato-based soup that included some kind of green vegetable.
I ended up finding this recipe for Colcannon Soup, an Irish-inspired soup of potatoes, milk, cream, and greens. The author describes it as homey and definitely not for company. In other words, it's ugly. But the taste is subtle and savory, and the amount of cream is actually very small. In fact, I still have some left. The cycle continues...
Colcannon SoupCooking spray
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 to 5 medium all-purpose potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 tbsp butter or mild vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound greens, any combination of turnip, mustard, kale, collard, spinach, beet, radish tops, poke sallet [I give, I have no idea what that one is], dock, chard, watercress, or any other wild or cultivated greens [could there possible be any more?], all washed very well, thinly ribboned, and coarsely chopped [I used half beet greens and half spinach]
1 cup milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream or evaporated skim milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Spray a heavy soup pot with the cooking spray, and in it bring the stock to a boil. Drop in the potatoes, turn down the heat, and let simmer 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, spray a 10-inch skillet with cooking spray and in it melt the butter or heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 4 minutes. Lower the heat slightly, add the greens, and stir until they start to wilt, about 3 minutes. Cover the skillet and let the greens steam until fully wilted, 3 to 10 minutes.
When the potatoes are done, strain them from the stock, reserving both. Return the stock to the soup pot. Place the potatoes in a food processor with the milk and cream and buzz until smooth. Combine this mixture with the stock in the pot, and stir in the sauteed greens and onion. Taste for seasoning. Reheat [but don't let it come to a boil again as I did, the cream will separate]. Serve immediately.
Note: I didn't blend the potatoes with the milk, I just mashed them up a bit in the pot and added the milk directly to the soup.
-Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread, Crescent Dragonwagon