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August 30, 2014
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Green light: The transition to spring

Feel free to adapt this soup according to whatever greens and green vegetables you have on hand, from kale, chard and spinach to broccoli.
Photos by Laura Silverman


4 cups vegetable stock, or water

Fat pinch ground cayenne

1 teaspoon each ground cumin, fennel and/or coriander to taste, optional

1 Tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add 2 tablespoons water and cover. Cook, stirring frequently until the pan cools down, and then occasionally, always covering the pan again, until the onions are greatly reduced and have a deep caramel color, 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining 3 cups water and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a soup pot or Dutch oven; add rice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Trim the white ribs out of the chard (save for another use, such as to add to a stir-fry or other soup). Coarsely chop the chard greens and spinach. 


When the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, stir in the chard greens. Return to a simmer; cover and cook for 10 minutes. When the onions are caramelized, stir a little of the simmering liquid into them; add them to the rice along with the spinach, stock, cayenne and other spices, if using. Return to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring once, until the spinach is tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes more. 


Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender until perfectly smooth or in a regular blender in batches. (Note: Be careful when you puree hot liquid in a blender; pressure builds up inside and the lid can fly off, spewing hot liquid.) Return soup to the pot. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice and/or salt, if desired. Garnish bowls of soup with a drizzle of olive oil.