April 28, 2010
I bought leeks, green beans and asparagus for a recipe I’ve had brewing in the back of my head for the last couple of weeks. I had good intentions Monday. No after work plans. I’d attempt this culinary brainchild. But Monday brought with it a case of the Mondays. Driving home from work, my good intentions began to fade. I could feel the early symptoms of cushion syndrome creeping in. It begins with reasoning that it’s too windy for a run, followed by determining that you most certainly have enough clean underwear to get you through the week, thus doing laundry is not necessary, and convincing yourself the fresh vegetables you just bought will likely last until Thursday, your next open weeknight. Then full blown cushion syndrome presents itself as follows: You walk in the house, set down your keys, drop your shoulder bag, slide off your shoes and make a beeline for the couch cushions. All bets are off at this point. No run. No housework. No cooking, for sure.
And so it happened this past Monday. My tush found its way to the cush. Then the voices started. (I know, right! Cushion syndrome and voices? What a Monday, indeed!) The guilt voices. The ones that pointed out dust on the coffee table and the dishwasher full of clean dishes. The voices that convinced me I really should do a load of whites to save me from having to wear hole-y underwear. And the voices that asked why I didn’t just jump on the treadmill if it was so windy outside. That did it. I made my way to the kitchen. Productive procrastination. I’d cook. Then I’d be doing something without doing what I should really be doing. Hey, everyone needs to eat! It all makes sense in my mind. But the thought of experimenting with a new recipe did not appeal in the slightest. Instead, I turned all of those fresh vegetables into this soup. It was next to mindless but promised something comforting, a sure treatment for the Mondays. Soup never disappoints.
This is a simple soup, so you’ll want to use the freshest vegetables available and good quality stock (there I go, Ina-ing again, but the woman knows her shtuff!). It’s also a great pantry/fridge clean-out meal. Stir in whatever grain you have lingering in the back of your pantry, adjusting cooking times as needed. The basil rounds it out beautifully, though any fresh herb would be equally delicious.
Spring Vegetable and Wild Rice Soup
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 c chopped leeks (white and light green parts), about 1 large
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 cup wild brown rice blend
- 2 quarts low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 bunch asparagus (15-20 spears), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup frozen (or fresh) peas
- 1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 2-3 T fresh basil, chopped
Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add leeks and celery and saute for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until rice is tender. Season with kosher salt and pepper and add to the pot the next 4 ingredients (asparagus through garbanzo beans). Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes more, or until green beans are tender. Stir in the basil, check for seasonings and serve.