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Great Green Soup

If allowed to sit in the soup, baked flat croutons add something special to this potage -- they sort of melt into it, creating a delectable mush. Or cubed, oil- or butter-fried croutons added at the last minute give a nice crunch. The stock called for will not fully cover vegetables, but it will work. Canned stock is fine.

1 large leek, white and light green parts only, cut in half lengthwise, washed well and cut across into thin slices
1/2 medium head broccoli, florets only
1 small cucumber, peeled and cut across into 1/4-inch slices
2 1/4 pounds peas in the pod, shelled (2 cups), or a 10-ounce box frozen tiny peas, defrosted in a sieve under running water and drained
1 pound mashing potatoes, peeled and cut across into 1/4-inch slices
1 small bunch parsley, leaves only
1 medium bunch watercress, leaves only
1/2 small green cabbage, cored and shredded (about 3 1/2 cups)
6 cups chicken stock
5 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
20 basil leaves, washed well and cut across in narrow strips
Lots of freshly ground black pepper

In a medium stock pot, bring all the ingredients except the salt, vinegar, basil and pepper to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Strain the soup and reserve the liquid. In a food processor, puree the vegetables with a little of the reserved liquid and whisk the puree into the remaining liquid; or pass everything through the medium disc of a food mill. Return the soup to the pot. Season with the salt and vinegar. Allow the soup to sit for an hour or two at room temperature. The soup can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated for up to three days.

Stir the basil and pepper into the soup. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Makes 9 cups, or 8 first-course servings.

"Soup:A Way of Life" by Barbara Kafka

Thursday, February 14, 2002

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