1/4 teaspoon dried, red chili pepper flakes or to taste
4 shallots – skinned, halved and finely sliced
2 garlic cloves – skinned and finely sliced
1 cup dry white wine
12 oz Yukon gold potatoes – peeled and cut in 1/2” cubes
12 oz winter greens (chard, beet greens or collard greens) – including stems, cut in 1/2” strips
3 cups vegetable broth in cartons (Pacific Organic)
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups spring water
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
crème fraîche as garnish
sweet Hungarian paprika as garnish
We haven’t had our first snow yet here in New York and the farmers’ markets are winding down but there are still some beautifully vibrant vegetables on the stalls. Among them are gorgeous winter greens that have become sweeter since the first frost, and just-harvested potatoes, so fresh they’re still crunchy. This colorful palate is enough to inspire me to create a perfectly elegant winter soup, one refined enough to serve at any holiday gathering. Simmered until just-tender, the greens and the Yukon gold potatoes are transformed into a beautiful silky-smooth velouté when puréed. To make the soup look perfectly festive, garnish it with a spoonful of crème fraîche, and complete the picture with a shower of sweet Hungarian paprika.
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1Heat a large heavy-bottomed soup pot at medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, the chili peppers and shallots, stir well and sauté for 2 minutes until softened, stirring only from time to time. Add the garlic and wine. Mix well and continue to fast simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, until the wine has reduced to a syrupy sauce. Add the potatoes, greens, broth, 2 1/4 cups of the spring water, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Once a full boil is reached, reduce heat, cover the pot and slow simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
2Purée the soup with a stick blender or food processor until smooth and thin with the balance of the spring water to the desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed and keep warm.
3Ladle the soup in soup bowls. Place 1 teaspoon of crème fraîche in the center of each bowl and using a tea strainer, sprinkle the whole surface with the sweet paprika. Serve immediately.
4Cook’s note: The soup will keep for about 3 days in the refrigerator, or 1 month in the freezer.