Recipe: Spring Garden Soup
This week’s recipe is from Berkshire-based duo The Butcher & The Baker. The Butcher is Jake, a nose-to-tail butcher/artist, who loves to cook and grew up in the woody hills of Western Massachusetts where his passion for local, fresh food was first instilled in him. The Baker is Silka, a designer/crafter who loves to bake and grew up in rural Western New York where her parents are candlestick makers. Together they spend most of their time talking about, shopping for, making, and eating food. By sourcing locally and sustainably, and spending time with the producers of their food, they’ve learned that every meal tells a story.
The Berkshires boasts many things, but nothing beats the incredibly strong feeling of community. Whatever you’re into, there’s a group of people waiting to welcome you—and whether it’s music and performing arts, or yoga and mediation, each community contributes to that harmonious local buzz we all love. It’s probably no surprise that we find ourselves most involved in the food community. And at every turn we smack into like-minded souls—in organizations like Berkshire Farm & Table, at restaurants like Prairie Whale, and with farms like Indian Line and its enthusiastic and knowledgeable Market crews.
This weekend, at the bustling Great Barrington Farmers Market, we stopped by the ILF stand to see what was ready for the cooking. Manning the stand was none other than Alana Chernila, our partner in bi-weekly RI recipe-writing crime, who insisted that we bring home a bunch of bright green (a.k.a. spring) garlic. “Here!” she said, “Make a soup! I wanted to write about it but by the time it’s my week again, it’ll be too late!” We love that kind of rushed, eat it while you can and then wait another year, kind of seasonal local eating. So, of course, we said “Why not?”
We had a bunch of asparagus and stinging nettle waiting at home, along with some sorrel that sorely needed harvesting. So, with the addition of our spring garlic bundle, this simple, pureed soup pretty much came together on its own. It’s cooling, light, quick and very, very green – perfect for a light lunch, a casual dinner party kick-off, or a community potluck.
Spring Garden Soup
Serves 8 as a first course
2 lbs asparagus, tips removed and stalks chopped into 1” pieces
1/4 lb green garlic, cut into 1/4” rounds, green and white parts separated (if you can’t get any, use an onion instead)
8 cups rich, homemade chicken stock
1/4 lb fresh sorrel leaves, sliced into slivers
1/4 lb stinging nettle leaves (if you can’t get any, make up for it with more asparagus or sorrel)
1/2 cup minced chives
1 cup heavy cream
1. Saute the white part of the green garlic with some oil in a pot.
2. Pour in the chicken stock and simmer the asparagus in it for 10 minutes, or until tender.
3. Meanwhile, roast the asparagus tips and the green part of the green garlic in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
4. Once the asparagus is tender, put the sorrel and stinging nettles into the stock.
5. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then add the cream and bring the soup to just short of a boil.
6. In a blender, or with an immersion blender, puree and let soup cool.
7. Serve in small bowls with a few chives, roasted asparagus tips, green garlic and a spoonful of goat’s milk yogurt scattered over the top.