Potato Escarole Soup

with tomatoes
heartier version

Normally I consider myself pretty brave when it comes to food. I'll try almost anything.
I eat food cooked with small amounts of shrimp, crab, lobster and abalone, all of which I'm allergic to (I'm still finding the fine line of how much I can eat without getting violently ill.)
I've embarked on a mission to find the enjoyment in foods I couldn't stand; mayonnaise, horse-radish, tomatoes, blue cheese, raw onion, and I love them all now- next up I brave sardines.

But when it comes to raw escarole I am a complete wimp, the stuff is just too... something; spicy, bitter, pungent? And this from the woman that likes straight vinegar.

Lately my wonderful farm box has been coming with a huge bag of escarole, so I needed to find a way to eat it. It turns out escarole is fantastic if you cook the hell out of it.

lots of escarole
so much escarole

As fall really sets in and the weather turns cold I find myself craving soup and missing greens. As luck would have it the strong flavor of escarole (and the whole needing to be cooked to death thing) works perfect in soup, so I present Potato Escarole Soup:

You will need:
  • 6 cups escarole, give or take
  • 4 cups broth, I used chicken
  • 1 cup soy or real milk
  • 1 medium onion, sliced or diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 3 cups potatoes, cut into slightly larger than bite-size
  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed stock pot and add the onions. Cook them over low-medium heat until they begin to caramelize. This might take up to 15 minute, but a good pot means you can pretty much wander around chasing shiny objects and neglecting the soup.

  2. calphalon stock pot
    I love this pot

  3. Add bell pepper and garlic, cooking until fragrant and slightly browned.
  4. dump in the escarole, turning the pile frequently as it wilts.

  5. wiltingcolorful
    versions one and two
  6. Once the escarole is fairly wilted (it will reduce by about %300) add the broth.
  7. Take your hand immersion blender and blend away. If you don't have an immersion blender, go through the process of blending the soup in small batches, careful not to let it get too hot and not to burn yourself.

  8. emerald greenheartier version
    more and less blended

  9. Add the potatoes and simmer soup until the potatoes are cooked. Or, if you're me, add potatoes then forget you were making soup. Wander into the kitchen every so often and wonder aloud what that tasty smell is. Realize over an hour later that you were still making soup. Lament it no longer has a beautiful emerald color, but rejoice it still tastes fine.
  10. Serve garnished with red pepper flakes, a pinch kosher salt, and a few drips red wine vinegar.
This recipe made enough for 6 bowls of soup. I put half in the fridge to eat that week, and froze the other half for later.

ready to freeze

I used chicken broth, but I like recipes that can easily be made vegetarian or even vegan. Alternately, I made a second heartier anti-vegan batch later with these variations.
  • Use some bacon fat or cook a chopped up strip of bacon before caramelizing the onion
  • Leave out the garlic, add some chopped tomatoes in with the escarole.
  • Don't blend the soup quite as much, leaving it chunkier.
  • Use 1/2 & 1/2 or cream instead of soy milk, (I forgot to put it in before taking the picture)
  • It just occurred to me, but adding sauteed mushrooms (after blending) would add great flavor

with tomatoes

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