- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Take the chill off the crisp, cold Christmas afternoon by beginning your holiday dinner with soup.

In this case, the soup is a glorious, green creamy spinach that sings out in harmony with the color theme of the day while warming your spirits.

A cream-of-any-kind-of-vegetable soup can also pack a big bonus, sneaking a full serving of vegetables without officially being a vegetable side dish. So you can be getting a stellar contribution to your five-plus-a-day without noticing — you’ll be too busy enjoying how delicious it tastes.

Creamy spinach soup

2 cups chopped onion

3 cups chopped russet potato

4 cups water

2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)

1 pound fresh spinach leaves, cleaned and stemmed

5 medium-sized garlic cloves, peeled

1 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cups hot milk (soy or low-fat is OK)

Black pepper to taste

Optional: A handful each, minced fresh basil leaves and dill

Combine the onion, potato, water and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender (about 10 to 15 minutes). Remove from heat, add the spinach and garlic cloves, cover again and set aside.

Melt the butter over low heat in a medium-small saucepan. Whisk in the flour and keep whisking over low heat for 3 minutes. Drizzle in the hot milk, continuing to whisk. Cook until smooth (about 5 to 8 minutes), whisking often.

Puree the vegetable mixture (onion, potato, spinach) in its cooking water, then return the puree to the saucepan. (You can use an immersion blender to puree everything directly in the pot.)

Stir in the white sauce, and add black pepper to taste. Serve hot, topped with a sprinkling of fresh herbs, if desired.

Makes 4 to 5 servings.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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