Dar Liqama's Tangy Roasted Beet Salad
Russ Parsons' Mushroom Hash

Russ Parsons' Southern Comfort Soup


I've told you a bit about my notebooks filled with clippings of NY Times recipes, but I also have ring-binders (plural, yes) filled with recipes from the LA Times. Back in January 2004, Russ Parsons wrote an article about winter greens that's sadly no longer available online. Accompanying the article were three recipes, including one for Southern Comfort Soup. I don't remember how the soup got its name (and no, there's no booze in it at all), and to me it seems more French than Southern, but either way, it's a real find.

I made the soup very quickly last night (and ate it too quickly too, burning my tongue in the process, ouch) because I had to run out to see Flightplan, which, by the way, is pretty much a waste of a movie ticket, although Jodie Foster is amazing, as usual. The soup didn't seem to suffer from the rush. Russ has you chop up a bunch of different leafy greens, like mustard or kale or chard, but my farmers market only has largish bunches of the greens, so I used just chard. If you can buy small amounts of each green where you shop, I'm sure it would make the soup a bit more multi-dimensional in terms of bite and flavor. But I very much liked my mono-vegetable version, too.

After sauteeing minced garlic in olive oil for a few minutes, the chopped greens are dumped into the pot.
The greens are cooked until they've wilted and darkened a bit. You'll note I didn't do a particularly good job of stemming my leafy greens. Did I mention my vegetable deprivation during the previous week? I need every little bit of fiber I can get.
Then in goes all the stock and water, and some salt. While this bubbles away, the rice is boiled with water in a separate pot. When the greens are cooked through, you're supposed to puree them in a blender, but not being in possession of such an appliance, I just pureed my way through the pot with an immersion blender.
The resulting greenish goo looked pretty repulsive. It was very liquid and tiny green bits kept spattering up at me. But then I added the rice, which thickened the soup up a bit, and swirled in the Sherry vinegar. Along with the grated cheese and the floral rice, the soup got elevated from a plain old vegetable potage into something special. It was warm and filling and nutritious. Not the most beautiful soup I ever saw, but definitely one to make over and over again.