Something Warm, Something Green

At exactly this moment, your body probably needs:IMGP5051

a) Something warm
b) Something green
c) Something bourbon
d) All of the above

You need something green because over the past 48 hours you’ve inhaled a (fully deserved) gluttonous share of things that were gooey, molten, buffalo-sauced, refried, deep fried, chocolate-dipped, iced, carbonated, crunchy, covered in neon orange film and/or Ruffles.

You need something warm because it’s that time of year when, after getting a little too confident that you’d braved the worst of winter, February happens.

February: when you’re forced to pull out your all function/no form snow boots and reacquaint yourself with the ankle soreness said boots cause after one little breakfast outing. The month when true love is tested, not by the appropriateness of Valentine’s Day gifts, but by your significant other’s ability to accept your appearance, despite your lumberjack boots and unwaveringly monochromatic wardrobe.

You need bourbon because you’re only human.

Something warm and green could be a spinach salad with “warm bacon vinaigrette”…but who has the time or willpower to stand over hot sizzling bacon on a Monday night? And doesn’t spinach detract from the holy ritual of consuming bacon to begin with?

Or it could be soup. It could be a totally not-boring, anti-chicken noodle, everything-lentil-soup-is-not kind of thing.

This is a soup for people who don’t really like soup. A soup for people who (when soup is required) exclusively opt for the broccoli and cheddar, loaded baked potato, creamy tomato bisque soups of the world…but deep inside clamor for one that delivers full flavor with maybe a tad less lactose.

This is a soup for people who are recent recipients of a new blender (standing, immersion or otherwise) in hopes of transforming into a soup person.

“Warm and green” doesn’t have to mean heavy and confusing. Our bodies deal with enough of that already. Warm and green should be light and comforting, and strong enough to tide over your body’s multitude of feels until you can get your hands on that bourbon.

Warm and green broccoli and potato soup
Makes 4-6 servings; Adapted from the New York Times

1/2 c olive oil
2 lb broccoli, divided into small florets, stems diced
2.5 tsp saltIMGP5057
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 lb potato, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1.5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Parmesan &/or croutons for serving

In a big and/or tall soup pot, warm 2 tbsp of olive oil over high heat. Add a third of the broccoli, so that a single layer covers the bottom of the pot (without being crowded.) Cook the broccoli for 3-4 minutes without moving it much or flipping the pieces over; you want to sear one side until it’s dark brown and leave the other side bright green.

Transfer the half-seared broccoli to a bowl and repeat with the rest of the florets (adding oil as needed.) When all of the broccoli is cooked and combined, season with 1 tsp salt.

Reduce the pot heat to medium-low; add the butter and remaining 2 tbsp of oil. Toss in the onion, garlic, pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp salt, cooking until the onion is soft and translucent (~4 minutes.) Add the potato slices with 1 quart (= 4 cups) of water and 1 tsp salt. Bring everything to a simmer, cover and let cook for 10-15 minutes, until the potato is tender. Add the broccoli and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the florets are tender too.

Mix in the lemon zest and carefully (with an immersion blender or in batches with a regular blender) purée the soup. You can blend to your consistency preferences, but don’t pulverize the pot; leaving some small broccoli chunks lends some much needed thickness to the bowl.

Stir in the lemon juice last. Serve with cheese, pepper and Texas Toast croutons because you can.

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