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Happy St. Patrick's Day!
We don't celebrate it here, nor did we in Andorra. What really surprised me was that it wasn't celebrated in Ireland either! At least not when we lived there (1997). When we lived in Minnesota, there was always a big celebration in St. Paul (twin city to Minneapolis) but, in retrospect, I don't really know if it was to honor the saint or an excuse to party with the first signs of spring. I know that I have consumed my share of green beer!
It's very appropriate that this Weekend Herb Blogging is being hosted by Becky, of Key Lime and Coconut as she lives in Boston, the very best city to be in for St. Paddy's Day. In honor of the green I'm featuring Emerald Soup. It's vibrant color comes from lots and lots of spinach.
Since I recently posted about the health benefits of spinach, I thought I would take a different track this time. Researchers at MIT have figured out how to incorporate a plants ability to make energy into solid-state electronics. We could be using laptops powered by spinach sometime in the future. Wouldn't Popeye be proud? In the meantime, keep eating it for healthy eyes.
Back in the beginning of time, when we first started to travel, I wanted to collect something in remembrance of the places we were visiting. I didn't want a charm bracelet and am morally opposed to collectible spoons, thimbles, pens with naked people, and T-shirts that wear out in one washing. I decided on food….recipes and/or cookbooks.
It's amazing what one can get just by asking. This was our first trip to London, and out of U.S. We had asked a taxi driver for a fun place to go near our hotel and he recommended Tiddy Dols. I have no idea if it's still open, but is was a fascinating combination of a bit of theatre and solid English cooking lightened with a French touch. And the best spinach soup I ever had.
I asked our waiter if I could possibly get the recipe. He went to the kitchen, came back and said 'the chef wants to know if you can cook'. When I assured him I could he handed me a scrap of paper.
This version is what I came up with. It will serve 4 as a starter or two with some Irish Soda Bread for a main course.
2 stalks celery
1 medium – large potato
1 tbs butter
12 oz (350 gr) fresh spinach
3 – 4 cups chicken stock
more stock if needed to get desired consistency
2 tbs creme fraiche or sour cream for garnish
Roughly chop onion, celery and thinly slice leeks. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, celery, leeks and sauté until softened. Roughly chop potato (peeling optional) and add to pan along with 3 cups chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are done, about 15 minutes. Pick through spinach, removing any bad leaves and thick stems. Add to soup when potatoes are done. You will probably have what seems like a huge amount of spinach but it will all fit – just add handfuls of leaves, stir into soup; when they are wilted, add more. When all of the spinach is in the pan and wilted, purée the soup, either in a blender or with an immersion blender. It should be a lovely bright green – thus the name… Add more chicken stock if desired. Keep warm until ready to serve. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche in the center (you can draw a knife through to make patterns…). And maybe a wee bit of Irish Brown Bread (Recipe from Ireland).
Be sure to stop by Key Lime and Coconut on Monday to get all of the wonderful recipes from this Weekend Herb Blogging.