Bolted Spinach Soup

Bolted Spinach Soup

Bayless Spinach soup
This photo doesn’t do the soup justice — it is a much more vibrant green — a lovely live-plant sort of green. So, this morning I was confronted with half a dozen spinach plants that really did need to be picked — they’d bolted and well, it was beyond time to do something with them.

I wanted soup, but spinach can get tricky — it gets that funny soapy taste on the back of your teeth — wanted to avoid that. I surfed around in the cookbooks for a while, and finally found a soup that sounded good in Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen. It’s called “Roasted Poblano Crema with Mexican Greens.” Now, sorry Rick, but i didn’t have any fresh poblanos, and I’m working today, so I cheated and used a can of 10-for-a-dollar diced green chiles. It’s an easy soup — saute one onion and three cloves of garlic until the onion gets soft, then add the chiles. When everything is sizzling, add the spinach. The recipe calls for 6 cups spinach or swiss chard. I had a colander’s worth of spinach — so I added the spinach until it wilted, with a cup of chicken broth. Bayless says to cook it until the spinach is cooked through but still bright green — it was about six or seven minutes. I used the handheld immersion blender to puree it, added the rest of the chicken broth (half a quart box) and put it back on the fire to heat up. Now here’s the interesting part — Bayless has you make a slurry from half a cup of masa harina and broth (I was out, so I used water) and add that to the soup. It looked like too much, but once I started adding it, it seemed like it was going to work well. The recipe also calls for half a cup of cream — I think I didn’t use quite that much — i just added cream until it looked the color I wanted. At the very end I realized I needed to add salt (the recipe surely calls for it but I was sort of just using the recipe as a guide), and it seemed like some cayenne, coriander and cumin would be good as well.

I put some frozen corn in the bottom of the soup bowl and heated it in the microwave. Then I chopped up some leftover grilled chicken from the other night and added that as well. Some soup ladled on top, a sprinkling of goat cheese, and a splash of jalapeno Tabasco and this was a *great* lunch. Substantial enough that I didn’t get hungry again in ten minutes, and the spinach and masa together make this terrific green and corny taste. I love this soup. This is probably going in the repetoire as a new pureed soup master recipe.

For tomorrow I’m thinking corn, a couple of shrimp, a green onion from the garden and maybe a little goat cheese again … yum.

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