Eating Local for Urban Families. Gluten-free and Dairy-free, too!

Thursday, August 9

Collard green soup

So that menu planning thing. It did work, mostly, in that two nights in a row I knew exactly what I was cooking for dinner and that I had the ingredients on hand. And, bonus, most of the ingredients were either grown locally or came from locally-based companies.

Except, I made a few erroneous assumptions:

1) I could get apples. Nope. There are no local apples this time of year (I think they’re about to come in). I suppose if I’d thought a little harder I would have realized this. I haven’t seen any apples at the farmers’ markets. But because apples and pears were the only local fruit I could reliable get at the grocery store all winter I didn’t even consider if they were available or not. They’re not. They only had Fujis.

2) I could get fresh green beans. Nope, not at my grocery store. The only ones they had were from California. This irked me. I know that I bought a bunch at the farmers’ market a few weeks ago. I emailed the produce manager and was told that there just weren’t enough to buy. The local producers were all growing specialty varieties. I would have bought those!

The other thing that derailed my efforts was a last-minute trip to Walla Walla (my second in a month) to see my sister while she visited with my dad. (He further lured me with the promise of picking pears from his tree, which I happily took him up on.) So after Wednesday I wasn’t even in town. I took the girls with me so my husband played bachelor all weekend, attending fancy Pearl District parties and a co-worker’s birthday celebration. This meant he did not eat any of the greens in the fridge. And they are starting to get that less-than-fresh feeling.

Thus, I made soup.

This is definitely a hearty soup and one that I would usually make in the colder months, but I had a bushel of collard greens to use up. And since I am this week a sales rally widow and my husband wasn’t home for dinner I had to choose a recipe that would use a lot of collards. The kids didn’t eat the collards at all since they were still a bit tough even after simmering in the broth for 20 minutes total. But this soup has so much else in it they were full and happy and went right to bed without much whining. Which, when you’re a sales rally widow, is a very, very good thing.

There was at least one time-out during the making of this dinner.

This recipe would also probably work nicely with kale or another sturdy green, and you could add potatoes or turnips or other root vegetables.

It's festive-looking, no?

(Gotta Use Up These) Collard Greens Soup

-3 tablespoons olive oil
-2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
-1 small (2 cups) white onion (I used Walla Walla sweet, since I’ve still got ‘em coming outta my ears)
-1 teaspoon fresh fennel leaves, chopped (see note)
-2 small carrots, chopped
-1 small zucchini, chopped into quarter rounds
-1 teaspoon dried marjoram
-3 - 4 cups beef broth (see note)
-1 15 oz can kidney beans (see note)
-1 cup cooked pasta, such as penne or macaroni (optional)
-3 cups of packed collard greens, stemmed, de-ribbed and sliced into 1 inch strips
-salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil on medium. Sauté the garlic for 1 minute. Add onion and sauté another 2 minutes.
2. Add fresh fennel leaves, carrots and zucchini and sauté for 1 minute.
3. Add stock and marjoram. Let simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
4. Add collard greens and kidney beans and let simmer another 10 minutes. Greens may lose their brightness, but you’ll want to let them go the whole 10 minutes to soften them up.
5. If adding cooked pasta, do this now. Turn the heat to low (or off) and let the pasta heat up, about 5 minutes.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

1. I just had some fennel hanging around and wasn’t sure what would happen if I put chopped leaves in as I’d never put chopped, fresh fennel leaves in anything, and I think it’s technically a garnish. It worked! I tasted the soup as it simmered and I think the flavor was enhanced by the fennel. Not sure what would happen if you used dried.
2. For a vegetarian dish, use vegetable broth, but change the beans to a white or green bean.
She won't eat potatoes covered in her favorite cheese, but she'll *chow* on this soup.

I just scooped the whole parts out for her. This one will basically eat anything.


Anonymous said...


Kaleigh said...

Looks delicious! My kids love cabbage in vegetable soup. That's the only way they'll eat it. (But they're good Southern children and love greens, especially if they're cooked with Italian dressing.)

Lisa said...

Ohhhhh. That DOES look good.

Ashley said...

I am a first time visitor to your blog and I will be returning frequently!! Your photos are beautiful.