Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Spinach and Kale Soup with Spinach Gremolata

Spinach and Kale Soup with Spinach Gremolata
I don't like to throw food out.  It just seems wasteful.  So, when I looked in my refrigerator last weekend and saw some kale and spinach that were very close to kitchen scrap status I decided I needed to make a soup.  Have I told you I love soup?    Having more greens on hand than I knew what to do with,  I remembered a recipe for a Three-Greens Soup with Spinach Gremolata I had seen recently.  That recipe was the inspiration for the soup I am sharing with you today.

Are you wiondering what gremolata is?  Gremolata is a condiment typically made of chopped parsley, lemon zest, and garlic.  For this recipe, the parsley is replaced with chopped spinach.  You'll definitely want to make the gremolata.  This flavorful concotion adds a special little punch to the soup's flavor.   You won't want to leave it out.

Lemon is essential, as well.  Both the zest and juice of the lemon are in the gremolata and the juice is added to the soup.  A fine gauge grater, or microplane, is a simple kitchen tool you'll want to use to make this soup.  It is the only tool that makes it possible to quickly grate the zest of a lemon.  Oh, while you are grating the lemon zest be sure to breathe in deeply.  The scent of the lemon will brighten your day. 
My Zesting Tool

This grater also makes it possible to finely grate a clove of garlic for the gremolata in about three seconds.  If you don't have a grater please add it to your list of kitchen things to buy.  You can pick one of these handy dandy graters up online or at any kitchen store. 

Some things to keep in mind as you make this soup:
  • The chicken broth you use will impact the amount of salt and pepper you will need to use.  Use the amounts listed in the recipe as a guide.  If your chicken broth includes salt as an ingredient you may need to use less salt than is in the recipe. 
  • You can use whatever kind of potato you have on hand.  I used russet potatoes, but Yukon Gold or red potatoes would work as well.
  • You could use other greens to make this soup.   Collard greens, Swiss chard, or escarole could be substituted.
  • If you keep bacon frozen in your freezer in packages of three or four strips, you'll easily be able to chop bacon for added flavor to soups.
Freezing Bacon Makes for Easy Chopping

  • Toast the pine niuts in a dry frying pan over medium heat until lightly browned.  As soon as you smell a nutty aroma you'll want to remove the pan from the heat.
Toasted Pine Nuts
 If you are ready, lest's make some soup...

Spinach and Kale Soup with Spinach Gremolata
Serves 6-8
The Soup Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 4 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups no-salt chicken broth (I used homemeade)
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
  • 7 large kale leaves, center ribs removed and chopped ( about 5 ounces)
  • 5 ounces of baby spinach, one cup reserved for gremolata
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can cannelini beans, optional

The Gremolata Ingredients
For the Gremolata
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat.  Add the chopped bacon and cook until the fat is rendered.  Add the chopped onion, garlic and mushrooms.  Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  Cook until the onions are tender and transluscent, about 5 minutes.

Cook the Bacon, Onion, Garlic and Mushrooms Together

Add the chicken broth, potatoes, kale and 2 cups of water to the pot.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes.  

Add the Kale and Simmer

Add the spinach and lemon juice.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed. I added another 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Cook for 5-10 minutes more.  Serve hot, topped with the gremolata and toasted pine nuts.

To make the gremolata: mix 1 cup of the chopped spinach with the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Toss to combine and set aside.

Spinach and Kale Soup with Spinach Gremolata

Get the printable Spinach and Kale Soup with Spinach Gremolata recipe by clicking the link.

Here are some other soup recipes you may like:
Italian Wedding Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup


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