It’s December in Rochester, New York, and I can hardly contain my excitement. You see, my happiness is directly linked to my ability to wear flip-flops and go outside without sporting a coat. So despite the rainy drizzle yesterday, I was elated to put on my flip-flops in 50-something degree weather and drag my mildly hungover self to the Snobby Brighton Market’s new seasonal edition. This is being held inside at the Brookside Center, or what is formerly known as Brighton Recreation Center. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this adventure, but I certainly didn’t expect to speak with a man specializing in organic, grass-fed chickens and lamb about the concept of lambing and legs getting stuck in birth canals. My friend, who has recently switched back to vegetarianism, promptly ran away during this convo and I chased after her yelling, “Hey, you do know bacon counts, right?” Regardless, we enjoyed some chuckles and sang, “I hope you like Lambin’ too…” to the Bob Marley song, “Jammin,'” while she waited in line for her vegetarian poutine from the Le Petit Poutine truck.
Since that farmer’s lamb won’t be ready for consumption until April, I picked up some organic eggs. I also managed to find a unique orange lavender marmalade and some golden beets to take home with me. The original plan was to go home and make roasted beets and kale chips but I really wanted soup and decided to get creative with whatever I had on hand. So, here’s my happy accident worth replicating:
Lady Sensory’s Mixed-Bag Winter Market Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
16 oz bag dried cannellini beans (or two cans if you are pressed for time)
1 large onion, finely chopped
7 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 sweet potato or yam, peeled, quartered and sliced
4 golden beets, peeled, quartered and sliced
6-7 cups kale, rinsed, drained and chopped
2 cans diced organic tomatoes (not drained)
5 cups low sodium chicken stock or broth
1 heaping tbsp curry powder (I used the Williams Sonoma Madras Curry)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground Saigon cinnamon
1/2 tsp Hungarian paprika
2 bay leaves
Salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper, to taste
3 cups water
Prepare the dried beans by either soaking overnight or use the quick cook method of boiling in a large pot for a couple of minutes, removing from heat and allowing to stand, covered, in the water for 1 to 1.5 hrs. When ready, they should be slightly tender and look almost like they do coming out of the can (very little of that white dry-skin coating on very few beans). In a 6-7 qt pot, warm the oil over medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Continue cooking until onions are translucent and garlic is slightly golden. Next, add the slices of yam and golden beets,. Incorporate into the oil, onion and garlic mixture and cook for a few more minutes. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and allow it to evaporate. Heck, pour yourself a glass and sip to help you take the edge that hangover from the fantastic party you went to the night before. Add the curry, ginger, cinnamon, paprika, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, bay leaves, and stir together. Next, add the two cans of tomatoes and juice, followed by the stock and water. Rinse and drain the beans, add those, raising the temperature to medium-high. Add the kale in small batches (takes up a lot of volume in the pot but it will reduce as it cooks) and when the soup has come to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and allow to simmer for at least one hour, stirring occasionally. You may want to add a little more water or stock if you like your soup more brothy. This is very chunky and hearty. This should feed 6-8 people (I froze two big containers). And, if you are vegetarian like my friend, I suppose you could certainly substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
In the meantime, I’ll continue listening to Bob Marley and enjoying fresh produce in flip-flops… pretending I live somewhere else for however long this warm streak lasts. Denial? Perhaps. Now please pass me more of that wine so I can continue deluding myself.