Provencal Greens Soup
Provencal Greens Soup
I was happy to see chard on the market this week, since it is not always the easiest green to find. Plus, it worked out perfectly, since I have been wanting to make this soup for a while. Chard is used quite frequently in the South of France and in ways that we do not always think to use it here. In the fall of 2015 while in Nice, I enjoyed a lovely piece of chard pie for dessert after our meal. I ordered it mostly because I was curious and could not imagine the green in an unsavory pie. It was delicious, not too sweet and probably not for everyone, but I am on the hunt for a copycat recipe…Greens are something that us southerners grew up with, but probably not chard, so if it is something you have not tried before or even if it is an old favorite, here is a new French spin on something that is tasty and also good for you.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 leeks, cut in half lengthwise, sliced, rinsed of dirt and drained on paper towels
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- Kosher salt
- 6 cups chopped greens(leaves only), such as Swiss chard, dandelion greens, watercress and beet greens
- Black pepper, to taste
- 2 large eggs
- 4 thick slices country bread, toasted and rubbed with a cut clove of garlic
- Grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat, and add the leeks. Cook, stirring, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the greens, and stir until they begin to wilt. Add 1 1/2 quarts water (6 cups) and salt to taste, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the greens are very tender and the broth sweet. Add pepper, and taste and adjust seasoning.
- Beat the eggs in a bowl. Making sure that the soup is not boiling, whisk a ladle of it into the beaten eggs. Take the soup off the heat, and stir in the tempered eggs. Brush the garlic croutons with olive oil, and place one or two in each bowl. Ladle in the soup, sprinkle on some Parmesan if desired and serve.
In France this simple, nutritious soup is made with wild greens that you might forage on an afternoon’s walk, such as nettles, watercress and dandelion greens. If you must use one green, make it Swiss chard. The soup can be prepared through step 1 several hours before serving.