Parsnip and Cauliflower ‘Vichyssoise’ With Gremolata

Serves 8 as main course; 12 as appetizer (makes 10 cups).

Note: You’ll be surprised how little dairy is used in this creamy cold soup. The topping provides a bright, crunchy counterpoint. Be sure to use a light-colored vegetable broth, so the soup remains pale. Panko are Japanese breadcrumbs that are larger and lighter than the traditional version, which could be substituted. The soup must chill in the refrigerator for about 4 hours before serving. The gremolata can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Adapted from “Soup Swap: Comforting Recipes to Make and Share,” by Kathy Gunst.

For the gremolata:

• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 1/2 c. plain panko breadcrumbs (see Note)

• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

• 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

• 1 tbsp. minced fresh chives

For the soup:

• 2 medium leeks

• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 medium-to-large parsnip, peeled and coarsely chopped

• 1 medium head cauliflower, cored and cut into medium florets

• 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 7 c. no-salt-added vegetable broth

• 1/4 c. heavy cream

Directions

For the gremolata: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil, then add the panko and toss until the crumbs are completely coated. Toast the crumbs, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Let cool for at least 10 minutes, then add the lemon zest, parsley and chives, tossing to incorporate. The yield is 1/2 to 3/4 cup.

For the soup: Trim the dark green sections from the leeks and reserve for making vegetable broth, if desired. Halve the pale green and white sections lengthwise. Rinse under cold running water, pat dry and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large stockpot over low heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil and leeks; cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the leeks are tender. Add the parsnip, cauliflower and thyme. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Add the broth, stirring to incorporate. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the parsnips and cauliflower are tender. Remove from the heat, uncover and let cool for about 5 minutes.

Use an immersion (stick) blender, or work in batches using a food processor or blender to purée the mixture into a smooth soup.

Return it all to the pot over low heat. Stir in the cream. Taste, and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Ladle the soup into mugs or bowls; top each portion with a small spoonful of the gremolata.

Nutrition information per each of 8 servings:

Calories 140 Fat 9 g Sodium 120 mg

Carbohydrates 13 g Saturated fat 4 g Total sugars 7 g

Protein 3 g Cholesterol 20 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder With Saffron Cream

Serves 6 as main-course servings or 10 as appetizer (makes 11 1/2 cups).

Note: Corn (especially fresh) and sweet potatoes make a good team. Together with the saffron, they turn the broth in this chowder a gorgeous sunflower yellow. When you have fresh sweet corn, you can use the husks to help flavor the broth. Adapted from “Soup Swap: Comforting Recipes to Make and Share,” by Kathy Gunst.

• 5 c. frozen corn kernels, or 6 large ears fresh corn

• 2 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 large onion, finely chopped

• 1 large yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/2-in. squares, divided

• 1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/2-in. squares, divided

• 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-in. squares

• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 1 tbsp. flour

• 4 c. no-salt-added vegetable broth

• 3/4 c. heavy cream

• 1 tsp. crumbled saffron threads

• 2 green onions (trimmed), white and green parts very thinly sliced

• 1 tbsp. minced fresh chives

Directions

If you’re using fresh corn, shuck the ears, discard the silks and trim off the ends so you can stand the cob flat. Working with one at a time, stand each cob on its end inside a large bowl; use a sharp knife to remove the kernels by working the blade straight down against the cob. Use the blunt side of the knife to then scrape down the cob; this will help release any milky corn liquid. Stir that liquid and the corn together. Reserve the spent cobs.

Warm the oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until translucent. Add half the yellow bell pepper and half the red bell pepper, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the sweet potato, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring well to coat all the vegetables, for 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high; gently whisk in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the corncobs if you have them (but not the corn kernels yet). Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until the potato is almost tender.

Combine the cream and saffron in a small saucepan over low heat; once the mixture is warmed through, stir it and let it steep (off the heat) for 5 minutes.

Add the saffron cream, corn kernels and corn milk to the stockpot; cook for 5 minutes. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Use tongs to remove the cobs from the pot; holding each one over the pot, use a knife to scrape off any bits of chowder or corn clinging to the cob.

Ladle the chowder into mugs or bowls; sprinkle with the green onions, chives and the remaining red and yellow bell peppers, then serve.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 310 Fat 17 g Sodium 110 mg

Carbohydrates 39 g Saturated fat 8 g Total sugars 10 g

Protein 6 g Cholesterol 40 mg Dietary fiber 5 g

 

Lamb and Lentil Soup With Lamb Meatballs

Serves 8 as main course, or 12 as appetizer (makes 8 cups).

Note: The author uses the bone left over from a roasted leg of lamb or lamb chops to help flavor this soup; this was tested with chicken stock. If you’re packing this soup to go, stash the parsley and cheese toppings and the meatballs in separate containers. Panko are Japanese breadcrumbs that are larger and lighter than the traditional version, which could be substituted. The stock can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 4 months. Adapted from “Soup Swap: Comforting Recipes to Make and Share,” by Kathy Gunst.

For the soup:

• 1 large leek

• 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 large garlic clove, chopped

• 1 1/2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

• 1 1/2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme

• Sea salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 2 medium carrots, scrubbed well and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces

• 1 c. brown lentils, rinsed and picked over

• 1 c. canned no-salt-added crushed tomatoes, with their juice

• 6 c. chicken stock

• 1/2 c. packed chopped fresh parsley

For the meatballs:

• 12 oz. ground lamb

• 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

• 1 1/2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

• 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme

• 1 egg

• 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino Romano cheese

• 1/2 c. plain panko breadcrumbs (see Note)

• Sea salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 1/2 tsp. canola oil

For serving:

• 1/2 c. packed finely chopped fresh parsley

• 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions

For the soup: Trim off the dark-green section from the leek; reserve for making vegetable broth, if you like. Halve the pale-green-and-white section lengthwise. Rinse under cold running water, pat dry and cut crosswise into thin pieces.

Warm 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large stockpot over low heat. Add the leek and 1 chopped garlic clove; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, then add 2 1/4 teaspoons rosemary and 2 1/4 teaspoons thyme, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 minute. Add the carrots and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the lentils and the tomatoes with their juices, stirring until all the ingredients in the pot are coated. Increase the heat to high, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and add 2 1/4 teaspoons rosemary and 2 1/4 teaspoons thyme and 1/2 cup parsley. Partially cover and cook for 45 minutes.

For the meatballs: Meanwhile, line a plate with paper towels.

Combine the ground lamb, 1 chopped garlic clove, 1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary, 1 tablespoon thyme, egg, cheese, panko and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Use your clean hands to mix the ingredients and form them into about 30 small meatballs.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil with the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oils are shimmering, add the meatballs in batches and cook for about 5 minutes each time, rolling them around in the hot skillet, until evenly browned. (They will not be cooked through.) Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the plate.

After the soup has cooked for 45 minutes, add the browned meatballs. Cover and cook for 30 to 45 minutes or until the lentils and carrots are tender and the meatballs are cooked through. Taste, and add more salt and/or pepper as needed. If the soup tastes weak, uncover and cook over medium heat for 10 more minutes.

Ladle the soup into mugs or bowls, sprinkle with the remaining parsley and/or the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve.

Nutrition information per each of 8 servings:

Calories 330 Fat 18 g Sodium 560 mg

Carbohydrates 23 g Saturated fat 6 g Total sugars 4 g

Protein 19 g Cholesterol 60 mg Dietary fiber 9 g