Friday, February 1, 2013

Craving Green: Wintergreen Soup

Post New Year is a pathetic time for cooks. It's like coming to a low after an incredible high. All the holiday baking, cooking, eating and partying have taken a tool on our cooking minds and our bodies. Snow is not pretty anymore, not even in pictures. Market is brown. Food is brown. And together with the fresh New Year resolutions, we crave some freshness in our lives and our tummies. Thus, let me present my New Year's resolutions soup. Post Thanksgiving, post Christmas and New Year, when I regret all the turkeys I ate and all the champagnes I drank, this is the soup to start fresh, clean and light. Not really quite Asian, not really quite Western, not really quite anything, just a tiny bit of aromatherapy for the soul.

Wintergreen Soup

* 5-6 cups chicken broth
* 2 oz ginger, coarsely grated or smashed
* 1/2 cup basil leaves, plus extra 8-10 leaves for garnish
* 1/2 tsp green peppercorns
* 1/2 tsp coriander seed
* 1/3 sprig of rosemary
* 2 juniper berries
* 3/4 cups fresh peas
* 3/4 cups Brussels sprouts, shaved super thinly
* 2 tbsp lime juice, plus extra wedges for garnish
* 4-6 ounces Capellini, Angel Hair pasta or similar thin noodles
* 8-10 mint leaves
* salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a soup pot, combine the broth with the ginger, peppercorns, coriander, juniper berries, rosemary and basil, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. Strain.

2. In a large pot of boiling water cook the capellini until just done, about 3-4 minutes (or depending on the type of pasta/noodles you are using, follow the instructions from the manufacturer). Drain the pasta, rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly.

3. Add the peas and Brussels sprouts to the soup and cook for one to two minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Using tongs, transfer the pasta to bowls. Ladle the hot soup on top. Garnish with lime wedges, basil and mint leaves and serve.

Serves 4

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