going commando ("recipe free") in the kitchen

It’s December and gardening season is well over here in Pennsylvania. But the collard greens and lettuce in my garden are still going. And for a chilly fall day like today, a bowl of creamy collard greens sounds pretty good to me.

soup and grilled cheese
Creamy green soup and a grilled cheese sandwich--a perfect cold weather lunch!

It’s always good to have a few “recipe-free” dishes as part of your repertoire. And this creamy soup is one of those. When I cook this dish, I don’t work from a recipe, nor am I really sure what ingredients I’m going to use. I only know that I have the greens, and whatever’s available in my kitchen on that given day will suggest the other ingredients I’ll use. An open-ended recipe like this gives you the freedom to add different spices depending on what you feel like eating. If you feel like an Indian-inspired dish, you could lean towards the curry spices. But on this occasion I stayed pretty mellow with the flavors.

I picked a large amount of collard greens from the garden to begin. You can use other greens like spinach if you don’t have collard greens. After I washed them and gave them a quick blanch, they were ready as my foundation for the recipe.

I sautéed a diced onion until it was translucent. I added a diced potato to the onion to give the soup a little extra body, but you might not even need this ingredient if you add a little extra cream towards the end.

I mixed the greens into the onion and potato and covered them all with vegetable stock. Then just simmered until the potato was soft. I mixed in a little goat cheese and a pinch of nutmeg. This is where you could add sour cream or just plain heavy cream to thicken the soup. And add any other spice you would like.

Blend until it’s very smooth. If it’s a little too thick you can add a little milk or heavy cream. Add salt and pepper to suit your taste. And there you have it. A bowl of this soup and a grilled cheese sandwich makes for a great meal.

Buen Provecho!

blanched greens
The soup starts out with blanched greens: collard greens, spinach, or whatever greens you have.
potatoes and onions
Sauté a diced onion until it becomes translucent. If you like, you can add a diced potato, too. This will help thicken the soup.
Cover the ingredients with vegetable stock and simmer
The soup has simmered long enough when the potatoes are soft
The soup has simmered long enough when the potatoes are soft
adding goat cheese
I opted to add goat cheese for flavor and texture
adding spices
Now you can really express yourself and give personality to the soup with your choice of spices. You could use Indian spices to evoke Palak Paneer, or go for a milder mix of nutmeg, salt, and pepper like I did.
blending the ingredients with an immersion mixer
After you add your choice of spices, it's time to blend. This soup is one of many, many dishes that showcases one of my favorite kitchen tools, the immersion mixer.
creamy collard soup
Look at that brilliant green color. Packed with flavor and all the nutrients of fresh ingredients, minimally cooked and taken straight to the table. Mmm, my mouth is watering just looking at this! What is homier than freshly made soup from your own garden greens?

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