I hesitated to post this recipe now, because I'm not like Lydia who enjoys soup year 'round, or Karen who is addicted to soup. I need cool weather, or at least a rainy day, to enjoy a comforting bowl of soup. However, I've had several opportunities to enjoy this soup this Spring, so I thought I'd share and give you another kale idea since Spring 'tis the season for greens.
Because eating up each week's bag of kale from the CSA farm share doesn't come as effortlessly as eating up, say, a pint of strawberries, I need to work at it. Throw in kids and it's a bit more effort. This is where soup comes in. I've found that if I puree vegetables in soup, my kids will eat them. Even if it's green. In the fall I put up kale (tear out the stems--feed them to the composting pigs or add them to the worm bin--blanch and freeze the leaves) and enjoy kale in hearty soups like this one. But I'm not in a hearty soup mood when there's so much green outside. Instead I wanted a summer soup.
This recipe comes from a little blue cookbook I've had for a long time, Fantastically Finnish: Recipes and Traditions by Beatrice Ojakangas, though I see it was published the same year as my son, and he's only like 5 or something I think. I'm sure my mom picked it up, along with its Scandinavian brethren, at a Christmas bazaar. Mom gave it to me because I spent a summer working in Finland and learned to cook a few recipes there. Whenever I'd scan through the book this soup, Kesäkietto, always caught my eye. In the head notes, the recipe comes from Esther Louma of Duluth, MN. As written, it's a vegetarian recipe. Because I recently had not one but 2 chicken carcasses burning a hole in my freezer, I spent a day making a pot of chicken jelly and substituted a quart of chicken jelly for the water (see NOTE below). Since some varmint nibbled my pea plants (and parsley, and fennel, and tomato, and dill, though I have rescued almost all of them) I could not add the peas that this recipe calls for. Therefore, I've utterly changed the recipe but kept the spirit of it--spring vegetables gently cooked in a milk-based broth.
I recommend you make this on a rainy late Spring/early Summer day, using whatever you've got available. The nice thing about this recipe is that it makes 4 servings--so it's great if you have fewer eaters in the house, as you won't be eating this soup for a week.
Finnish Summer Soup--with Kale (serves 4)(inspired by Summer Soup from Fantastically Finnish: Recipes and Traditions)
1 quart chicken jelly (see NOTE), chicken stock (how I make chicken stock), or water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups total of the following chopped vegetables: carrots, potatoes, radishes, spring onions
2 cups packed kale, stems removed (pigs!) and leaves torn into small pieces (or sub fresh peas)
2 Tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 Tablespoons butter
chopped parsley for garnish (Ask the varmints why I don't have much in the photo)
Place chicken jelly, salt, and the 2 cups chopped vegetables in a 3 to 4 quart sauce pan over medium high heat. Boil gently for 10-12 minutes. If you're not serving picky eaters, add the kale (and peas if you have them) at this point and continue cooking another 5 minutes until it is tender. If you are serving picky eaters, scoop out the cooked vegetables to a separate bowl, add the kale, cook 5 minutes, then use an immersion blender to puree before returning the cooked vegetables to the pot. Mix the flour with about 1/2 cup of the milk, until it no lumps remain. Add it to the soup, stir well, then add the rest of the milk. Simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and stir in the butter. Serve with parsley.
Do you have a different assortment of vegetables to use? Try this Finnish Summer Soup from Kitchen Parade, which makes plenty for leftovers and is finished with dill!
This post is shared with the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up, What's Cookin' Wednesday, What's In The Box--the traveling edition, the From The Farm Blog Hop, the Clever Chicks Blog Hop, and Tasty Tuesdays.
Behind the scenes--trying to figure out the best configuration for the soup and bowls: