Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Green Velvet

Vellutata di Patate e Bietola
Velvety Potato and Swiss-Chard Soup

Time for a hot bowl of soup, something to warm me up from my cold walk home after a long day at work on a weekday night... you know the feeling. Just something simple that you don't have to stand there and stir... something that will take care of itself. Something like this!

With just a couple of potatoes and a few leaves of chard, I made this delicious, purely vegetarian soup in just 30 minutes. I really had to resist the temptation to use a dice of bacon in there, but I wanted to challenge myself I guess... of if truth be told- to simply prove a point that often food has a lot more flavor than people think and does not always need the easy way out of using bacon or stock cubes to taste good. This was old-school poor peoples food, like we eat in The Old Country. And totally delicious too!

I started off by dicing half a carrot, half an onion, half a stick of celery and a clove of garlic and sautéing them in a little olive oil. Whilst they were sizzling away, I chopped up the chard and peeled the potatoes- I used 1 bowl full of chard and 2 small potatoes to make one good hearty serving. Remember that plate full of raw chard will cook down to less than a third of its size by the time it is done! I added the potatoes and chard to the pan, stirred them in with the other ingredients, topped everything up with boiling water and reduced the heat to a simmer. I seasoned with salt, pepper, a bay leaf and a little marjoram- I only had dried at home but that worked just fine. I let the soup simmer away for 20 minutes with not a care in the world... 
...and returned 20 minutes later to find the chard soft and tender, as were the carrots, celery and onion- and of course the potatoes, which I popped into my blender with a pat of butter, a little milk, some nutmeg, parsley and a tiny squeeze of lemon. I whizzed everything together until I had a smooth, very soft mash and added this to the chard. Once everything came back up to the boil it was ready! 

I enjoyed a good sprinkle of chili flakes on mine, as well as a few extra drops of a good olive oil... it tastes so much better "raw" at the end as when it simply cooks-in to a soup if you ask me. And I thoroughly enjoyed it! A simple good flavor, a simple cheap recipe and a good and healthy meal to boot! And the best thing is- being all of those things... it still gave me time and freedom to indulge in a little dessert! And you can read about that in my next post!


  1. Yummy! I really like this kind of creamy soup either as a first course or a light dinner when I don't feel very hungy but want something tasty. And as you say, they cook up in no time.

  2. Glad you like it Frank! Yep- you and me both... sometimes a soup like this is all you need. And then a second bowl ;-)