Every week we receive an assortment of seasonal organic vegetables from The Organic Scarecrow. It costs $40 and I’m really pleased with the quality of what we get. The only problem is, they like to give us TONS of lettuce, rocket, kale, spinach and other green leaves. Seriously, there is only so much rocket and lettuce two people can consume in one week. So at the end of every week, we inevitably have a few sad bits and pieces that we haven’t managed to use. You probably have the same. We’ve got a worm farm, so at worst we could turn these leaves into compost. But there’s another option:
Wait! Don’t go! It’s better than it sounds.
This week I had this assortment of random things to use up – the middle of a cos lettuce, a bit of tired cucumber, a box of very tired and dry rocket, a bunch of kale, and a box of something called organic supergreens (containing MORE rocket, MORE kale and spinach).
The exact recipe will vary depending on what you’ve got, but here’s a guide:
Big nob of butter or a glug of olive oil
Leafy green veg – you want about the equivalent of a whole lettuce, give or take
1 cup of peas – keep some in the freezer
1 teaspoon oregano
2 cloves garlic – I use two teaspoons of chopped garlic from a jar
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock – I just make it up from stock powder
Optional items, not essential but are really good for the flavour:
a few sprigs of fresh mint if you grow it in the garden or windowsill
small handful of parsley – ditto, but I have found the massive bunch the supermarket sells you also freezes well.
a leek or onion
I timed myself today and the preparation took about 35-40 minutes, including the cooking time, but not including the time on the couch thinking ‘I really should make that soup’.
First, wash any leaves and tear them up into smaller pieces. Dice any other veg.
Heat up the oil or butter in the largest pan you have. I’ve got the Circulon stockpot which is huge. It’s bigger than you need but it’s handy for later when you are trying to blend the soup without splashing yourself!
Add the garlic to the oil or butter, followed by the veg and herbs but not the peas. Stir into the butter and allow to wilt down on a medium heat for 5 or 6 minutes. Then they will look something like this:
Then add the peas and stock and simmer for 20 minutes.
Allow the soup to cool a bit so you don’t hurt yourself and then puree it either in a blender or using a handheld stick blender. It will look something like this:
Put the soup back in the pan to heat it through again if necessary and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls with a swirl of cream to finish or some grated cheese if you don’t have cream handy.
The great thing about this is, if you use bits from the fridge that were going to get chucked, it’s kind of free, or maybe a few cents for the stock powder, garlic and herbs. This is not a substantial soup, it’s more of a starter than a meal so I can’t really compare the cost to those pouches of tasty fresh soup you can buy. We ate some of this tonight and the leftovers will get eaten tomorrow and the next day in place of cup-a-soup which hubby and I often have as a snack. The cheapest cup-a-soup in Coles is $1 for two sachets when it’s on special, which is dead cheap, but it also contains these things (this is the ingredients list for Continental Spring Vegetable):
Maltodextrin (from Wheat), Vegetables (32%) (Onion, Carrot, Green Peas), Maize Starch, Salt, Tomato, Flavour Enhancers (621, 635), Parsley (1.5%), Hydrolysed Corn Protein, Vegetable Oils (Soybean, Sunflower), Sugar, Flavours (contain Milk Derivatives), Colours (Carotene, Turmeric, Caramel lV), Garlic Extract, Spice Extract, Herb Extract.
Flavour enhancers, ‘Flavours’, Sugar (!), hydrolysed things. Not all that appetising, eh?
So homemade green soup saves us only a couple of dollars but also stops us eating a bunch of odd stuff and chucking away veg we’ve paid for. So I’m chalking it up as a WIN.