Friday, January 20, 2012

Mess of Greens Soup

Mess of Greens Soup

"Mess of greens" conjures a large pot of luscious leafy veggies cooked to perfection Southern style - Yum :D. I had a large bag of "Southern Greens" (a mix of collards, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, spinach, etc) and wanted to make soup for a chilly day. The greens cooked up luxuriously succulent and we had a hearty and delicious Mess of Greens Soup!

Oh, to add to the southern-ness, I added smoked paprika for its er, smokiness :) and a couple of sweet potatoes too; the sweetness of the potatoes perfectly complemented the strong greens without making it sweet. I also put in some freshly cooked red kidney beans. The result was really a nice balance between the greens and sweet potatoes with the beans adding to the heartiness. Mess of Greens Soup is a meal in a bowl - with all the veggies :) and protein-rich beans, you really don't need anything else.

You can use a pound of any greens in any combination you like. And a word about the "tough" stems and ribs - I don't discard them (except for the really - well tough ends) but chop them and add to the soup first so they can soften a bit before the leaves are added.

Since it was an impulse soup, I did not obviously soak the kidney beans but just cooked them in the pressure cooker for at least twice as long as the soaked ones but they turned out lovely.

6-8 Servings


1 cup Red Kidney Beans
1 Dry Red Chile
1 Tbsp Oil
1 pinch Red Pepper flakes (cayenne)
1 pinch Asafetida
1 Red Onion, finely chopped
1 Carrot, finely cubed
1 small Red Bell Pepper, finely cubed
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced (optional)
1-2 pinch Sea Salt
1-2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 medium Russet Potato, diced small
1 lb Southern style greens, finely chopped
1 lb Sweet Potatoes, diced
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
Sea Salt & Pepper to taste
1 cup Parsley, minced
1/2 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
Fresh Limes, to serve (optional)


Sort the beans for debris, wash well, and soak overnight if you wish. Cook in fresh water to cover them with the dry chile until soft but not mushy; they should retain their shapes. Discard the chile.

Heat the oil in a large pot with the red pepper flakes and asafetida for a few seconds; add the onions, carrots, and bell pepper with a couple of pinches of salt. Cook stirring until onions are soft and beginning to turn golden.

Stir in the paprika (and garlic if using) and cook for about 10 seconds.

Add the turmeric, greens, and the russet potato and stir to coat well.

Pour in about 4 cups of vegetable broth or fresh water and bring to a boil.

Add the salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and simmer covered for about 20 minutes.

Tip the beans with their cooking liquid along with sweet potato and tomatoes into the soup.

Add boiling water to the soup if it is too thick.

Raise the heat so the soup comes to a boil; then reduce heat so the soup is simmering gently; cook for 25 - 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Sprinkle the parsley and mix well. Let the soup rest covered for about 15 minutes.

Serve hot with a sprinkle of the fresh cilantro and pass the lime wedges if desired. 


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