January is the quiet wintry cold after the bustling holidays, the fresh beginning of a new year, the calm of routine. It’s hot water boiling for tea to warm your insides and keeping cozied up with a good book. January is soup weather.
Soups are the sort of thing you can subject to your whims. There are rich cream soups, there are hearty beef stews, there is chicken noodle when you’re feeling under the weather and chicken tortilla when you’re craving spice. And then there are brothy, light, vegetable based soups like this one. Feel free to look in your pantry and incorporate what’s there; any vegetable addition will do. I chose potatoes, mushrooms, kale, onion, and celery with a good squeeze of lemon here. If you have bread going stale on the counter, use it to make the croutons and you’ll be so very glad you did. They add a hearty garlic crunch to these bowls of steaming sustenance topped with plenty of grated parmesan. Had on a chilly wintry evening, this will warm you from the inside out while boasting a healthy portion of vegetables.
Potato, Mushroom and Kale Soup with Garlic Sourdough Croutons
For the soup:
10 oz white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 celery ribs, sliced
4 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
4 laminate kale stalks, stems removed and leaves sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons lemon juice plus 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, optional
8 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms, onions, and celery and cook until the onions are translucent and the celery is soft. Deglaze with the white wine and cook until the wine has reduced by about half. Add the garlic, potatoes, kale, lemon juice and zest (optional), and broth and bring to a gentle boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer for twenty minutes or until the potatoes are very soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the croutons:
1/2 sourdough boule, sliced then cut into 1 inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Parmesan, for topping
Preheat the oven to 420 degrees. Toss the bread with the garlic and olive oil and spread out evenly on a large baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until slightly golden and dry to the touch. Top the soup with a handful and grate a generous bit of parmesan on top.