A few weeks ago, with leftover collards and other random bits in my fridge, I decided to pull together a version of ginger-greens soup, which I love to nosh on when I don’t feel well, or at least need some cleansing comfort. I had been trying to entice my friend Stevie to come over for dinner for the past few days, but she hadn’t been well. Armed with this soup, I tried again, inviting her for dinner. I could hear slight hesitation in her voice when she asked, well, what are you making? Oh, I don’t know, I replied, just some ginger-and-greens-soup-with-homemade-stock-and-then-a-citrus-salad-on-the-side. I relayed this quickly, hoping that both the force of my words and the actual good-for-the-soul meal would convince her to come. It worked. She came, she ate, she took some home. The next day, she called – I feel better.
Sick Soup, for Stevie
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 bunch spinach
- 1 bunch collard greens
- 1 fist-sized stalk of fresh ginger, chopped*
- 2 cups good-tasting vegetable broth**
- fresh lemon juice
- olive oil
- sea salt, plus more to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
*I learned a great trick from Gourmet.com a few months back – you use a spoon to scratch off the skin of the ginger. Its rounded edge allows you to get around the crevices of the gnarly root without losing too much of the flesh.
**As you peel and chop and gather veggie discards, throw these into a pot with about a quart of simmering water. Add salt and any other herbs, and you will soon have homemade stock! I sometimes like to throw in a bit of white wine as well, if I have any lying around. Or, you can freeze the bits until you are ready to make stock, if you already have some lying around.
Chop the onion and cook it slowly in the olive oil, stirring occasionally, over low heat until soft and golden. (Throw the skin, ends, and additional misc. pieces into the pot of water.)
Meanwhile, peel and dice the sweet potato and put it in a large soup pot with 4 cups water and a pinch of sea salt. Thoroughly wash the greens, chop them coarsely, and add them to the pot, along with the chopped ginger. (All of the discarded peels and stems can go into the stock pot.)
Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer the soup, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are completely tender. Add the caramelized onions when they are ready. (Back at the stock pot- After about 30 minutes of simmering, strain the veggie broth, removing the veggies pieces and floating detritus.)
When the vegetables are soft, add the vegetable broth. Stir in the lemon juice to taste and some fresh-ground black pepper. Add some salt if needed. I also like to shave some parmigiano on top, if I’m feeling fancy.
This recipe was adapted from Heidi Swanson.