Do you have wilting lettuce and greens in your fridge? Sure you do. We ALL do. I don’t a single hard working home-cook who always gets to the entire content of our vegetable drawers. And THIS is a great way to use them all up.
So this is my go-to kitchen sink recipe that I am writing down for my girlfriend Fabiola. She is gung-ho eating vegetarian Monday thru Friday. We’ve joined the troops in mommy-solidarity but also because I have a REALLY FABULOUS dress for my brother’s wedding in mere weeks and have a good 6-8 lbs more to lose before it looks totally amazing. To that end, I am starving poor Dean and cooking every lean, green dish I can think of for dinner. And since I’m not adventurously cooking weeknights, alot of what I am “soup-ing” is greenery on its last legs in our fridge. Usually left over from the weekend. The great thing about THIS little dish is not just the big dose of vitamins, iron and vegetable goodness but that it is foolishly EASY to make and flexible with most veggies wilting away right now in your very fridge!
You DO need some basic staples that you should ALWAYS have on hand like garlic cloves, yellow onions, frozen organic peas, good quality organic chicken stock (low sodium), and left over parmesan reggiano cheese rinds. From these humble ingredients, great things can be born…especially if you have a ham hock from your butcher lying around. And an immersion blender. A MUST.
I give you: LEFTOVER PEA SOUP…with WILTING SALAD
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- 1/2+ yellow onion chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
- Bit of kosher salt, fresh ground pepper (2 turns), pinch dried oregano
- 1 bag frozen peas
- 6-8 cups of Chicken stock, dry white wine, vegetable stock or water. Sometimes its a combination of all 4 depending on what I need to use up.
- ANY Salad Greens
- Most leftover vegetables like leeks or shallots, celery and carrots, etc.
- Optional: a small smoked ham hock or smoked ham chunks for flavor
- Optional: Roast some garlic and red peppers or red pepper aioli
In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté chopped garlic and onions for 2-3 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Last night, I halved and sliced 2 wilting leeks. Add your next vegetables here like older celery or carrots and sauté another 2-3 minutes. Splash with white wine, water or stock if it looks like veggies are starting to stick to bottom of pot.
Pour in one bag of frozen peas. Stir peas and garlic/onion/leeks or shallots or whatever mixture up. Add tiny salt, pepper and pinch of oregano (if you have it.) Add your liquids whatever they are. Last night, I tossed in 1 cup of white wine, 4 cups chicken broth, 2 cups of water and a smidge of leftover vegetable stock from Sunday. I also acquired a small smoked ham hock at the market because for extra flavor and added a small chunk of parmesan cheese rind. Stir well again.
Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer soup, stirring occassionally, for 30 minutes. I’ll do laundry or read a few books to the kids. Last night, I pruned 2 rows of Merlot. Yay!
Remove the ham hock or rind (if using) and then literally dump all of your greens, herbs, salad into the pot and stir. I had left over herbs and baby kale last night. Remove from heat.
Then blend the soup — be careful! — with an immersion blender until soup runs smooth. Ladle into warmed bowls and garnish with freshly shredded parmesan cheese. I had some left over red peppers and garlic sauce that I had roasted and blended the night before for sandwiches. I spooned that in too. Serve immediately.
For roasting peppers and garlic? Slice red, yellow and orange peppers. Take whole garlic STILL in their skins and toss all with light coat of olive oil. Spread on a pan and roast at 400′ for 30 minutes. I then blended them in my little $26 cuisinart. Great for sandwiches and soup garnish. Eggs too.