Thursday, June 24, 2010
spinach vegetable soup
One of the nice things about being a girl is that you are never too old to have a tea party.
I had the fortune to be invited to a tea party the other day, hosted by my friend Stacia. Stacia not only makes delicious food, but she also publishes her recipes on her own blog, The Domestic Engineer.
My oh my, this tea party was fun. Stacia made shortbread cookies with lemon curd (check out her recipe for lemon curd).
She also served some beautiful s'mores scones alongside strawberry lemonade and peach tea.
Another guest brought delicious peanut butter cookies (notice the addition of some fun chocolate chips!).
And at each place setting was a magnet with the guest's initial. Here was mine!
My contribution to this girly get-together was a light and delicious spinach vegetable soup, which we served alongside chicken salad sandwiches.
Now, yes, I know that this soup isn't the most photogenic of dishes. It's because I made it in the slow cooker. You see, when cooked on the stove, the spinach stays a bright green and the carrots stay a bright orange. When cooked in the slow cooker, the vegetables come out a bit duller (probably all of that simmering).
Another feature that might have affected the photogenic quality of this dish is the fact that I added evaporated almond milk instead of real cream. When you add real cream, it gives the dish a beauty that is unparalleled by most soups.
I am not exaggerating!
But, for now, you'll have to live with the fact that I used my crock pot and added almond milk. Believe me...it didn't affect the taste.
This soup is wonderfully easy. You start with a few carrots, a few potatoes, and a package of frozen chopped spinach.
Slice up the carrots...
...peel and chop the potatoes...
...and use a knife to separate the frozen spinach into smaller bits (helps to break it up).
Toss all of this into a pot. You can choose to do either the slow cooker method or the stove-top method. If you go for the slow cooker, add one can of chicken broth to your veggies. If you decide to cook this on the stove, you will probably want to add two cans of chicken broth.
Also stir in about 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Don't skip the nutmeg. It sounds odd to put nutmeg in a soup, I know, but it absolutely makes this dish. Without the nutmeg, this soup would just be a pile of veggies topped with wilted spinach. We don't want that.
At this point you could also add some cooked chicken to your soup - it's delicious!
If using a slow cooker, cook on high for about 4 hours or low for 7-8 hours. If using the stove, bring soup to a boil. Then, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender.
In the last 15 minutes of the slow cooker method, or once the vegetables are tender using the stove-top method, add one cup of cream, half and half, milk, evaporated milk, or something similar. Cream or half and half will yield the best results; however, I've never found reason to complain when I've used evaporated almond milk. It's up to you!
To evaporate your own milk, boil 2 cups of milk in saucepan until the milk is reduced to 1 cup (stir constantly!!!). This works well with non-dairy milks.
Let soup cook another few minutes or until the cream/milk/whatever has been heated through. Serve immediately! It serves 6.
Spinach Vegetable Soup
1 cup cooked chicken (optional)
1-2 cans chicken broth
2 carrots, sliced
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
10 oz. frozen, chopped spinach (cut into squares)
1/2 t. nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cream (or half and half or fat-free half and half or milk or non-dairy milk or...)
Slow cooker method: Combine 1 can broth, carrots, potatoes, spinach, and spices in slow cooker. Cook on low for about 4 hours or high for 7-8 hours. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add cream. Cook an additional 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Stove-top method: Combine 2 cans broth, carrots, potatoes, spinach and spices in a stock pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender. Add milk and cook on low until heated through. Serve immediately.
IBS variation - make the soup a blended soup! Toss it in the blender and let 'er rip!
Nutrition (calculated without chicken and using 1 can of chicken broth and fat-free half and half): 222 cal, 1g fat, 0g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 2mg cholesterol, 216mg sodium, 48g carbs, 6g fiber, 5g sugar, 7g protein, 179% vit. A, 39% vit. C, 12% calcium, 10% iron.
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