Provencal Greens Soup
At the house of mourning you are bound to eat foods you will later regret. They are all gifts from the heart (just not so good for the heart) - brought out of kindness and caring.
Here's what was on my list:
An entire bag of barbeque potato chips; Texas chocolate sheet cake topped with whipped cream; pineapple upside down cake; a 1 pound 72% chocolate bar (thanks Mar); Chicken Italiano loaded with cheese; Eggplant Parmesan loaded with cheese; and Twice-Baked Potato Casserole loaded with cheese. Oh, and this is from someone who swore off sugar, meat & cheese. Oops!
Provencal Greens Soup - the Antidote
This soup comes from my favorite recipe source: The New York Times Recipes for Health, by Martha Rose Shulman. For the original version-I made changes!- click here.
I've already made this soup twice. You can have it on the table in 40 minutes flat! It couldn't be simpler, more delicious, more comforting, or healthier.
Hearty Whole Grain Seeded Bread
A Little Salt & Pepper
A Pinch of Freshly Grated Parmesan
Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, author of Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life, has a section in his book that classifies the effects of certain foods on several specific cancers. He ranks them by their abilities to inhibit cancer growth, and garlic, leeks, and greens are near the top of the list.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) ranks the greens at the top of the list, as well.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (optional)
2 leeks, cut in half length-wise, sliced, rinsed of dirt and drained on paper towels (I cut off the ends & about a 1/2 an inch of the green part, and used it all. For a short video on cleaning Leeks, click here -it helped me!)
4 garlic cloves, sliced
6 cups chopped greens (leaves only), such as Swiss chard, dandelion greens, watercress and beet greens. (I used dandelion greens & Swiss chard and really packed in the 6 cups) Shulman recommends you use chard if you only want to use one green.
1 1/2 quarts good quality vegetable broth, like Kitchen Basics. (Shulman uses just water)
Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 thick slices country bread, toasted and rubbed with a cut clove of garlic
Grated Parmesan for serving (optional)
1. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat, and add the leeks. Cook, stirring, until tender, three to five minutes. Add the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about one minute. Add the greens, and stir until they begin to wilt. Add the broth and salt to taste, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the greens are very tender and the broth sweet. Add pepper, and taste and adjust seasoning.
2. Brush the garlic croutons with olive oil, and place one or two in each bowl. Ladle in the soup, sprinkle on some Parmesan if desired and serve.
Yield: Serves four
Advance preparation: You can make the soup through step 1 several hours before serving.
I dedicate this soup to my sister-in-law who inspired me to make something with dandelion greens, and to my late father-in-law who always grew Swiss chard in his backyard.