Happy 2022! Let’s greet the new year with a reboot of our palates—shall we? Going rogue, as one does during the holidays, can impair the role of the hippocampus in appetite regulation and trick our brains into thinking we only want sweets. These creamy, comforting soups are like the winter equivalent of a green smoothie, and I’ll be enjoying them on repeat. Join me!
Warm Arugula Vichyssoise
Your daily greens, disguised as potato soup - yes please.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large leeks, dark green parts discarded, white parts sliced in half lengthwise, rinsed free of grit and dirt, and chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons Himalayan pink salt
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5-ounce container baby arugula
1 lemon (1 teaspoon finely grated zest + 1 tablespoon juice)
Top each bowl of soup with a (halved) soft boiled egg
Heat a medium stockpot over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the leeks, garlic and salt and sauté, stirring often, until the leeks are soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the potatoes, chicken broth, and pepper flakes. Stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and maintain a gentle simmer until the potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add the arugula. Stir until wilted, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice and zest. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Ladle into bowls and top with soft boiled eggs and flake salt, if desired.
This soup was adapted (and made dairy-free) from a recipe by Giada.
Creamy Celery Soup
A beautifully simple soup + dill is so underrated.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium-large yellow onion, chopped
1 head of celery, stalks and leaves chopped - reserve a few leaves for garnish
1 large (or 2 medium) red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 teaspoons Himalayan pink salt
3 cups chicken stock
¼ cup (lightly packed) chopped fresh dill
½ cup canned, full-fat coconut milk, preferably additive-free
For serving: reserved celery leaves, flaky salt (such as Maldon) and olive oil
Combine the olive oil, onion, celery and potato in a stockpot over medium heat. Sauté until the onions and celery are tender, about 5 minutes. Do not allow them to brown because it will muddy the light green hue of the soup.
Add the salt and broth, and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, another 15-20 minutes. The time it takes will depend on how finely you've chopped the vegetables.
Turn off the heat. Add the coconut milk and dill, and purée with an immersion blender until smooth.
Top with the reserved celery leaves, a pinch of flaky salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.
This soup was adapted (and made dairy-free) from a recipe in Bon Appetit.
A Strategy for Chicken Stock
When classic homemade stock doesn’t feel like a reasonable ROI.
I’m making lots of soup this month, and that’s going to require some chicken stock. I’ve always been firmly in the store-bought camp. Our freezer cannot accommodate multiple quarts of stock. And simmering a chicken carcass plus a bunch of veg all day, only to net a quart of stock is simply not a reasonable ROI (return on investment) as far as I’m concerned. But over time, I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable with the questionable ingredients contained in boxed stock. So I’ve decided to figure this out. Enter: concentrated chicken stock, which doesn’t take up much freezer space, and can be reconstituted as needed. There, I fixed it!
4 chicken carcasses, including the neck, drippings and cartilage
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 dried bay leaves
6 grinds of black pepper
3-1/2 quarts (14 cups) of filtered water
Collect your carcasses:
Save all the bones, drippings, neck, cartilage, and other bits each time you roast a chicken, and collect them in a large ziplock bag. For me, this means swatting my husband away from some of the weird bits he likes to eat. Store them in the freezer until you have four of them.
Make the broth:
Add all the ingredients to a 6-quart stockpot. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 6 hours. Check on it here and there, giving it a stir, and breaking up any wings or necks that have not fallen apart on their own. After six hours, remove the lid and simmer uncovered for 2 more hours. This will allow some of the liquid to evaporate and the stock to become more concentrated.
Turn off the heat and allow the broth to cool slightly—just so it’s safer to handle. Pour the contents of the stockpot through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl, pressing to extract all the liquid. Cover and refrigerate while it’s still warm—this will help reduce histamine development (for those who are sensitive). Refrigerate overnight so the fat will solidify at the top.
Skim the layer of fat from the top and discard it. Fill your storage containers with one cup of the gelatinous stock, avoiding any sediment that has settled to the bottom of the bowl. I use these weck jars because they hold exactly one cup, and I top them with these lids. Refrigerate or freeze for later use.
A ratio of 1 cup homemade stock + 3 cups filtered water will reconstitute it to the same general depth of flavor as the Costco stock I used for comparison. If you’re on board with this basic strategy, know that it may take some tinkering because there are a number of variables involved. The goal is to net four cups of concentrated stock, which will yield four quarts of stock, once reconstituted.
So, for example, if a recipe calls for one quart of stock—use one container (one cup) of homemade stock from the freezer + three cups of filtered water.
To sip it as bone broth, I suggest mixing equal parts stock to water for extra richness and body.
I enlisted my husband’s help in a blind tasting. Thankfully, he identified the homemade stock as having a more defined chicken flavor, richer mouthfeel (that's the collagen), and none of the undesirable aftertaste of the Costco stock. The Costco stock has a deeper color, which comes from added turmeric. Note that “natural flavorings” are often not so natural. As consumers, we will have to do a better job of pushing back against additives and chemical preservatives.
It’s a brand new year, and I feel so grateful to be back in the kitchen a bit and sharing my food with you! Thanks for joining me - x
Please drop your questions or new year’s musings in the comment box below. And if you’re enjoying this newsletter, please forward it to a friend.
Rachel Riggs | Clean Eating Foodist is a reader-supported publication. To support my work, consider becoming a paid subscriber.