We have arrived at the first official soup of fall. That it just so happens to contain two of my favorite colors, purple and green, is a bonus. Maybe because I was feeling the whole #meatlessmonday trend, maybe not. Maybe it goes back to when I got my sourdough starter, and Monday became my bread baking day. Whatever the case, for the last couple of falls and winters, I've been making soup on Monday nights for dinner. It became a way to ease into the week. I know as long as I have some greens, some beans or other protein (sausage, chicken), or maybe some potatoes, then I have soup. Fresh herbs are a bonus; that wasn't in the cards last night, but I'm going to put them in the recipe here anyway.
The best part? Almost all of these ingredients were locally sourced (Scholl Orchards for the shallots; Jett's Produce for the potatoes and Blooming Glen for the radicchio) except for the beans. These were organic canned ones, but there is no comparison between those and ones you cook from scratch. That being said, most of the dried beans on the supermarket shelves are old; we have no way of knowing when they were picked. And they lose their flavor and luster once they sit for a long time. Imagine seasonal beans! If we are lucky, we will be able to buy some beautiful beans from the Easton Public Market in a few short months. A gal can dream. Or, in the meantime, she can order them from a place like Rancho Gordo.
I really liked the creamy beans, colorful potatoes and bitter greens, plus the way the herbs and lemon zest play off them. The tiny sprinkling of cheese adds a little salty tang (if you're using it, don't oversalt your soup first). Now, I didn't blitz this in the Vitamix like I often do with soups; the purple and green colors would have become destroyed and turned into something that didn't quite look right. The end result, as you can see in the second photo, shows a soup with a purple blush; the potatoes held their color. I served it with a hunk of Welsh cheddar and some crackers. The kids slurped it up, but maybe that's because the ice cube I put in each of their soup bowls made it easier to do so. I'll take it!
- 2 T. unsalted organic butter
- 1/3 shallots, finely chopped
- 4 cups water or stock
- 12 ounces (about 2 cups) purple potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- I 15-ounce can of organic cannellini (white) beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 cups radicchio (or other bitter green; use whatever you've got, even kale), chopped
- Salt and pepper and more salt and pepper
- 1/4 fresh herb of choice, chopped finely (I would have used parsley but mine was looking raggedy so I loaded up on Penzeys Mural of Flavor instead)
- Zest of one lemon
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Melt the butter in a 4 or 6-quart stock pot over medium heat. When the butter foams, add the shallots and cook until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the water or stock and the potatoes. Turn the heat to medium-high and cover the pot. Bring to a boil and then turn it down, simmering until the potatoes are tender (15-20 minutes).
When the potatoes are almost ready, add some salt and pepper. Then add the white beans and lemon zest, stirring to combine. Cover the pot and turn off the heat. Before serving, add the parsley and zest of a lemon to brighten and balance the bitterness of the greens. A sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese is an option.