Tuesday, November 15, 2016

In Need of Comfort Food

Potato & Leek Soup with Garlic & Sage Sourdough

6-7 new red potatoes, chopped
3 leeks, sliced
2-3 carrots, sliced
bunch of celery stalks, sliced
bunch of kale, sliced 
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2-3 tbs olive oil
2 quarts vegetable stock + water if needed
3 tbs sage, sliced
crushed red pepper (a lot for my personal preference)
fresh black pepper
fresh squeezed lemon
salt (a lot of salt...)

Garlic & Sage Sourdough
add fresh chopped garlic and sage to country sourdough

Make your vegetable stock ahead of time (recipe below). Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add garlic and leeks and sauté until fragrant. Add celery and carrots and sauté a few minutes more. Add stock and bring to a simmer. Add potatoes and bring back to a simmer until the potatoes are tender. Add kale, salt, pepper, lemon juice and crushed red pepper flakes and take off the heat. 

Toast the garlic and sage sourdough. Serve on the side.

Potatoes, leeks, celery, kale, and sage are all thanks to the Field Museum garden.

Vegetable Stock
4 quarts water
tops, ends & discards of carrots, leeks, onions, garlic, celery, etc.
parmesan rind
whole black peppercorns
whole coriander 
bay leaf

Big pot, bring to a boil, 2 or so hours, you get the idea. Strain. Use or freeze. 

We've finished the last harvest of the season in the Field Museum garden. Between the Cubs winning the World Series for the first time in 108 years and the recent election it has been both a historical and an emotional time in Chicago, and I think it's fair to say some comfort food is well deserved. For me that means something salty, spicy and brothy. It's also a good time to recognize how important things like the community garden truly are. My own garden has been somewhere between mild success and total neglect depending on the year, and the community garden allows me to partake in growing a much larger variety of organic fruits, vegetables and herbs than I have been able to tackle on my own. It has allowed me the opportunity to connect with others that I may not interact with on a daily basis, and also allows me much a much needed break every so often from the confinement of the office or the ongoing stress that accompanies hard work. This garden is just one piece of a much larger network of community gardens in Chicago supported by organizations like The Peterson Garden Project and Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA) and I truly thank those who have been fighting to make these opportunities possible and hope to be able to involve myself more moving forward. After all, we're all in this together. Now for a hot bowl of brothy soup and some toasted bread.

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