Having made lamb stock the day before leaving home for the Thanksgiving holiday, soup was obviously going to be on the menu that night. The nice thing about soup is that you really don't need a recipe, just some likely ingredients and a tasty liquid. The homemade lamb stock met the latter requirement. A little late season harvesting from the garden and a quick rummage through the potato bin met the former.
Starting at the beginning, I first cooked a diced garden leek and a clove of our homegrown garlic in a little olive oil. Then I added small handful of spelt berries. (Spelt is a close relative of wheat, and we've come to love its chewy texture and nutty goodness in soups. The berries inevitably end up at the bottom of the pot and each bowl, since they're heavy. But that just means that some of the best bits are saved for last.) Once the spelt berries were coated with the olive oil, I added freshly degreased lamb stock and an equal amount of water, along with a few sprigs of thyme from the garden, and let that simmer away for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile I scrubbed a small pile of our La Ratte potatoes. These are a yellow skinned fingerling type potato that somewhat resemble the Yukon Golds. Chopped into bite sized pieces, they cook very fast. Their waxy texture helps them stand up well in soupy environments. They went into the pot next.
Earlier in the day I had harvested the absolute last of the season's Tuscan kale. The crinkly leaves were all droopy, and had blanched slightly in some areas. The plants were forming their own anti-freeze. The large bunch that I cleaned and parboiled was enough for our soup, with a large ziploc bag left over for the freezer. This kale is sturdy enough to retain a nice texture through freezing and even subsequent cooking. It's become one of our favorite vegetables for this reason, among others.
Diced carrot and some of the garden kale were added in their turn to simmer. When they were tender, the soup was ready to be served. We ladled up generous bowls and garnished with a light grating of parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. The intensely flavored lamb stock, even at half strength, provided a hearty meat flavor in this otherwise vegetarian soup. It's a wonderful feeling to draw in together in a snug home, over a warm meal of homegrown and homemade food, against the rising cold and dark of winter. The soup warmed our bones, and put us in mind of all that we have to be thankful for.
The ingredients for this soup overlap those in the last harvest meal I posted about, the fusilli with Tuscan kale in a creamy tomato sauce. But the different preparation and a few different ingredients disguised the similarities very well. We're not even close to getting sick of garlic, leeks, or Tuscan kale.