K Cooks: A Year of Soups February Escarole

Ever had one of those days where all you do is work, come home, prepare dinner, eat while watching a favorite TV show (Top Chef, Season1 right now) and then go to bed? I punched out 4 miles on my lunch break and inhaled some cream of wheat, carrot and seafood salad, four cups of tea/or coffee, a power bar, some yogurt and cereal and even a few Tablespoons of PB and J with crackers…but I worked a lot! So, soup saves the day here. Refreshing, soothing, rejuvenating. Ah, and this was an occassion to break out some German Reisling. The moon sparkled a bit for this gal who prefers reds, as the white peary bite offset with perfect moodiness the watery-ness of the broth…

My wonderful mentor sent a remarkable Christmas package that contained a gift that surprised me: a cookbook. I have been out of favor with cookbooks f or the past five years now, in the past two years relying solely on revised concoctions mused from online sources. Yet this one, stole my heart. Twelve Months of Monastery Soups. A Benedictine monk authored this beloved edition that relies heavily on French cuisine and a sense of soulishness. What I cherished about this cookbook was that many of the selections felt foreign to me, and featured seasonal fare plant based and flavorful.  Immediately, I sent another book of his off to my friend Y in hopes of sharing the passion. I promised to make a soup from each month following the recipe exactly as written with no substitutions or creativity. My February selection

February: 

 simple, one-pot, wholly healthful soup. This soup starred, of all things, escarole.

Yes, escarole.

Escarole isn’t anything new; this leafy green has been around for 5,000 years or so. The Egyptians ate it. The Greeks. Ovid mentions the stuff, as does Pliny. It’s a staple in Italian cuisine. But the truth is, this vegetable is relatively new to me.

Like all leafy greens, escarole is a great source of iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and minerals. Unlike other kale or collards, it doesn’t require too much cooking. It resembles a kind of wide-leaf, tough, homely variety of romaine lettuce – just heartier and a little more bitter.

This soup isn’t anything unique; you can find a gazillion variations in cookbooks and online. But I thought this version was so, so good. Good enough to turn a blue day into something better

1 Head of Escarole, chopped

1 small onion, diced

3 garlic cloves

Step 1…sautee the garlic and onion in a sprinkle of oil, 5 minutes, before adding in the turnip and tomato. After they were browned, I turned the heat down real low and added the wine, plus the broth. After a little bubbly action occurred, the leafs were thrown in. Then, immediately the heat was reduced to almost nada, and I let the flavors meld a bit. It said parmesan was optional, which I thought was silly. Parmesan is a must, so I threw in a thumb nail sized wedge. I let the stew sit there for an hour, although the recipe says 25 minutes. Then I turned up the heat, added salt and pepper, and let it brew for 5 before serving with a piece of toast on top with a swirl of olive oil.

Ever had lettuce soup? My goodness, the wine and tomatoes totally taste like honey together, almost jarring with the fragrant bitter leaves. I never would have combined these ingredients on my own, and as the white-y chewyness of the parmesan laces itself into the onions, believe me, you’ll be slurping.

Still am tired. But definitely NOURISHED. This is comfort food all the way. I served it with a mozzarella apple grilled sandwich and a carrot-avacado-banana raw salad. Seriously? Who knew killer Tuesdays could be so delicious!

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5 thoughts on “K Cooks: A Year of Soups February Escarole

  1. top chef season 1? yes please! i watched that religiously haha. i’ve never had lettuce soup, mostly because i don’t like lettuce, but it sounds like a really warming soup. i also like how simple it is.

  2. This soups looks yum! I love making soup, it’s one of those foods where you can be so creative and make something new each time. I have also had one of those days where you just work, work, work, then come home, cook dinner, and watch a tv show and go to bed. And Top Chef is one of my favorites!! I can’t want for it to start again.

    Regarding your question on my blog, I don’t think Greek yogurt has any less probiotics that any other yogurt. As long as it has the seal that says contains “Live and Active Cultures” it should be just as good.

    As for the Nutritional Yeast, putting it in hot broth will probably cause some nutrients to leak out into the broth, but as long as you drink the broth, you will still get them!

  3. Just read your comment on my blog. I don’t necessarily think the 10 calories and less protein in the yoplait is a big deal, but some people might. Especially those who are eating the Greek yogurt FOR the extra protein. I didn’t prefer the Yoplait taste, I preferred the Dannon, so that’s why I chose it, not because of the protein or calories.
    As for my documentation of my eats, it’s not to point out that I have a perfect diet, it’s to give people an idea of how I fit in all my fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy, and protein, on a daily basis. I’m excited!

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