’m always taken aback when people talk about soup season as finite because it can be enjoyed year-round.
Soup fits any time of year, adapting to the weather and whatever produce is plentiful, from hot, hearty bowls built on roots and squash in the winter to chilled purées of ripe tomatoes or courgette in the summer.
This recipe is spring in a bowl – joyful, green, fresh, bright and warm. It’s made with early-harvest vegetables – leeks, peas, new potatoes, spinach and herbs – and is simply seasoned so their delicate flavours come through clearly. The leeks and potatoes are simmered until tender in chicken or vegetable broth, but the rest of the vegetables and herbs are added shortly before serving so they cook just long enough to yield to the warmth of the broth but still remain fresh and bright.
Feel free to vary the vegetables based on what you have on hand, swapping onion for the leeks, parsnips or carrots for the potato, or using snow peas, baby kale, and basil for the green vegetables and herbs, for example.
This recipe has such a garden-to-plate vibe, I think of it as the soup version of a salad and I serve it that way, alongside a sandwich or omelette, or before a main course. Each spoonful is a delightful reminder that spring, like other times of year, is also soup season.
Spring vegetable soup
Makes: 6 servings
Total time: 20 minutes
Storage notes: Leftover soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The spinach and herbs will lose their vibrant color, but the soup will still taste delicious.
2tbsp olive oil
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced into half-moons
340g waxy potatoes, such as new potatoes or creamers, peeled and diced into 1.5cm pieces
½tsp salt, plus more to taste
¼tsp freshly ground black pepper
1.5L low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
283g sweet green peas, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not defrost)
60g fresh baby spinach leaves
32g coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2tbsp coarsely chopped fresh dill
In a soup pot over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, salt and pepper. Add the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes.
Stir in the peas and continue to simmer until they turn bright green and just tender, 2 to 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted but still bright green, 30 seconds. Stir in the herbs, then ladle into bowls and serve hot.
Nutrition | Calories: 175; total fat: 6g; saturated fat: 1g; cholesterol: 0mg; sodium: 189mg; carbohydrates: 23g; dietary fibre: 5g; sugar: 4g; protein: 9g.
© The Washington Post