Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Tonic Root Vegetable Soup

Spring Tonic Soup
Get Your Vitamins & Minerals Here

Recipe by Robin

About this time of year a few generations ago, mothers in Appalachia concocted spring tonics to invigorate family members after the long winter. Many ingredients were bitter and thought to encourage blood flow to revitalize body tissues, as natural and beneficial as springtime sap rising in a tree. Some traditional ingredients have been proven to be full of vitamins and minerals. Violet leaves are rich in Vitamin C and dandelion greens in Vitamin A. Comfrey is a potent source of calcium and is still prescribed by naturopaths for patients with broken bones.

Whole Leeks, Radishes, Carrots, and Lemons
Delicious & Healthful Ingredients
This is my own version of a spring tonic, made with our late winter CSA share veggies. The radishes inspired that idea. Both roots and greens are edible. When cooked they become more mellow in flavor, though still distinctive. Radish greens in particular give their flavor to this soup, so if you’re wary of this, substitute spinach for the greens. You might want to try Sauteed Radishes and their Greens to get an idea of their taste before making this soup.

Chopped Sauteed Veggies
Next Add Broth
Radishes are a good source of calcium, potassium, vitamin C, folate, and the trace mineral molybdenum. Carrots, especially when cooked, are high in usable vitamin A, as well as vitamin B6, iron, and potassium.  Leeks and garlic are strongly anti-inflammatory, protecting the body against cancer and other inflammatory conditions. Leeks contain vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium and manganese. Fresh lemon juice gives the soup an extra Vitamin C boost. Like most vegetable soups, this one is high in fiber and low in calories and fat.

If you happen to have other root veggies on hand, you could make some additions or substitutions. Potatoes and parsnips might be good candidates. Remember that this soup is quite lemony when you choose your substitutions.

Veggies with Broth Added
To Preserve Radish Color, Don't Overcook
Spring Tonic Soup
serves 4 - 5

1½ tbsp. olive oil
4 cups sliced leeks
2 cloves garlic
2 cups sliced orange carrots
2 cups sliced yellow carrots
1½ cups sliced radishes
1½ cups chopped radish greens or spinach
5 cups veggie broth
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. salt
a few grinds pepper

Sauté the leeks in olive oil in the bottom of a soup pot until limp, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another minute or two, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant.

Add carrots, radishes, and broth. Bring to boil and simmer 15 – 20 minutes, until veggies are moderately tender. To preserve color of radishes, don’t overcook.

Add chopped spinach or radish greens and thyme and simmer 5 minutes.

Stir in lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately with additional salt and pepper on the side.

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