Fennel, Leek, Spinach Soup (Dick's Soup)
This has become my staple Passover soup ever since I tasted it at Fran & Dick's seder quite a few years ago. Dick found the recipe from a 1997 Bon Appetit--and I've modified it to eliminate the margarine. It's so easy--so delicious--and so healthy!
- 6 cups chopped fresh fennel bulbs
- 4 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 3-6 cups of baby spinach (or more--you know how it just melts down to nothing)
1. Heat a large soup pot on medium high
2. Add fennel and leeks. Lower heat to medium. Sauté until just translucent, about 15 minutes. Add a couple of tablespoons of broth or water, as needed, when the vegetables start to stick--and to deglaze the pan. Once the vegetables are translucent, add broth & cover pot. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
3. Once cooled, puree soup in small batches in blender until smooth, adding spinach to last batch before pureeing. Return soup to same pot. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Refrigerate until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated.)
4. Rewarm soup over low heat, stirring occasionally.
5. Ladle into bowls. Add 2 matza balls to each bowl and serve.
Isa & Dr. J's Matza Balls without Oil or Eggs
OK--Maybe these aren't the usual light fluffy giant matza balls you're used to--and they look like falafel--but these are pretty darn tasty! Tasted great in my lunch time sweet potato soup.
I owe this recipe to Dr. J, who perfected this "baked version" of the matza ball recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan with a Vengeance--and to blog-reader Barbara who suggested using avocado instead of Isa's oil. I tried them with oil--and with avocado--and I couldn't tell the difference--so why not just use avocado?
The matza ball challenge: to boil or bake?
Isa gives elaborate boiling instructions and I followed them to a tee. I didn't like the result. They sort of fell apart and I had floating matza meal in the water--and the texture seemed water-logged.
Dr. J's baked version, on the other hand, is much easier & they turned out beautifully They're small--but the same size as Isa's boiled ones. Plus, they're delicious, can be made ahead & will be perfect in my Fennel Leek Soup!
1 1/2 cups whole wheat matza meal
3/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 (12 ounce) package of firm silken tofu in the aseptic box (Mori-Nu)
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup plus 2 TBS. soft avocado (Isa uses 1/4 cup + 2 TBS. of extra-virgin olive oil, if you want to use her version)
1/2 carrot peeled & shredded
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix matza meal with salt & pepper in a bowl--set aside
3. Crumble tofu into a blender or a processor (preferred). Add 1/2 cup broth & puree until smooth. Add the avocado (or the oil if you're going that route) & blend again.
4. Mix the tofu mixture with the matza meal, making sure that everything is moist. Add the grated carrot. I did need to add just a little more vegetable broth to get the mixture moist enough--it was a little too dry--but don't overdo it!
5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
6. Form into tightly packed walnut-sized balls & bake in a 350 degree preheated oven. Total baking time is 20 minutes--but turn them half-way through.
After 20 minutes the matza balls were brown and held together well--the center was a little moist but tasty--so taste-test them, & cook them longer if you like--or make them ahead & reheat them in the oven before serving your soup.
Dr. J adds them into individual soup bowls at serving time. Do not attempt to boil these in the soup--they may fall apart! I'm going to make mine a day ahead, refrigerate them, warm to room temperature & reheat before serving.