This Spring Harvest Soup came about totally by chance. We live in a cold place, so the cupboards tend to run a little bare in early spring. A few years ago, we had grow tired of our steady winter diet of Jerusalem artichokes, winter squash, and sauerkraut. We were so happy to see some of our perennial vegetables showing a little life, that we rushed into the garden and picked any edible greens we could find. Once in the kitchen, we realized that we didn’t have a plan. We love using what we have on hand, so we made this soup. It turns out that the first edibles to appear in our garden make a great team. Jerusalem artichokes make a hearty base to layer with the flavors of Egyptian walking onions, sorrel, and lovage. The combination says, “Thanks for the winter break, but bring on the spring!”
- 2 pounds of Jerusalem Artichokes cut into 1 inch chunks (we leave the peels on)
- 1 quart of vegetable stock (homemade is best)
- 2 bay leaves
- 8-12 stems of Egyptian walking onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup lovage greens, chopped
- 2 cups sorrel, chopped
- 1 15 oz can coconut milk
- Salt & pepper to taste
1. In a large pot (at least 4 quarts), simmer the Jerusalem artichokes and bay leaves in the vegetable stock, covered, until just tender, about 25 minutes.
2. Add the chopped onions, lovage and sorrel and simmer until the greens are tender, about 6 minutes. Remove bay leaves.
3. In a blender, food processor or with an emersion blender, puree the Jerusalem artichokes and greens until smooth.
4. Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This soup is all about using what’s on hand, and hopefully fresh, in early spring. This is the end of the Jerusalem artichoke season for us, but if you have potatoes in the pantry instead, great. The Egyptian walking onions sound fancy, but they’re just some perennial onions that come up early and have a nice mild flavor. You can use scallions or bunching onions instead. The lovage is my favorite part of this soup. We wait anxiously for the first emergence of its greens just so we can make this soup. It has a flavor like nothing else but is faintly reminiscent of celery, so try that. We really recommend growing some lovage, but substitute any fresh herbs you have on hand. Parsley often survives the winter, and it’s first flush of leaves in spring can be really flavorful. Sorrel is a tangy, slightly sour, perennial green. It is mild in spring, so any leafy greens you have will do; spinach is often ready in the garden this time of year. You can delete the coconut milk if you like. the soup is still good without it, but it adds richness and some good calories and fat for working in the garden. You don’t even have to puree it if you don’t want to. It is just as good as a stew style presentation.
This recipe, kinda like our life, is about getting the most out of what you have available. It is nice to evoke the sense of spring with food. It is even better to do it in spring with unlikely produce from your own garden.