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Molto Barrio Beet Green and Potato Soup

The garden squad was thinning the beet patch at the Last Organic Outpost's Emile Street Garden over in the Fifth Ward the other day. The beets were tiny on the thinned out plants, but the greens were great. I ended up with a bag full. Beet greens sautéed with garlic taste fine, but you get tired of plain greens after awhile. I wanted to use the greens in a potage, but I wondered what would taste best mixed with beet greens in a soup.

I came across a bunch of recipes on the web that thanked Mario Batali for his beet green soup recipe in Molto Italiano. I never saw the original recipe, so I ended up making a variation on the variations. They all called for beet greens to be sautéed briefly with onion and garlic and then simmered in water with some spuds. That ain't exactly rocket science.

I started with a half of a huge onion and three cloves of minced garlic. I simmered these in a mixture of vegetable oil and bacon grease. Then I added six cups of chopped greens and six cups of peeled potato chunks. I substituted a quart of chicken stock for the water, and added bay leaves, salt and black pepper and some red pepper flakes. Then I simmered the mess until everything was extremely tender.

Finally, I hit the soup with a submersible blender. (You can be lazy about the chopping if you are going to puree the soup anyway. ) I stopped processing before it got totally creamy so the soup still had some nice chunks of potato in it. I served it with parmesan and fresh baked bread.

It made a great cold night supper.

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