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Last year’s leftovers

RecipeSwap: Spinach and Green Pea Soup, and Hodgepodge

vegetables in a bowl

A sure sign of approaching summer around here is an almost-empty freezer.

Last fall I made a list of everything we put into it, and all those bags of carrots, peas, beans, corn, rhubarb, saskatoons and strawberries seemed like a lot of food at the time. So a few months later, I’m amazed to see it’s nearly gone.

Just one or two bags of peas remain of the vegetables. Why am I reluctant to eat the last of them? Maybe because I know the peas were the most work to put there. I’ve saved “the best” for last.

But those bags of peas need to be eaten. They’re kind of pale and shrivelled and after a year in a dark, cold freezer won’t taste like they did last summer.

So while summer comes on, and we wait for those promising little ribbons of green in the garden to become this year’s fresh and new, here’s a couple of recipes to use up what’s left over from the last.

Spinach and Green Pea Soup

This soup is a great way to eat last year’s frozen green peas with new spring spinach, green onions or other fresh herbs like mint or chives you may already have in your garden. Serve this delicious soup with a tuna sandwich on whole grain bread for a balanced lunch.

  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large baking potato, peeled and diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 c. reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth1 pkg. (227 g) spinach
  • 1. c. frozen green peas, thawed
  • 2 c. milk2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juicePepper
  • 1/4 c. 2% plain yogurt
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh basil, mint or chives

In a pot, combine green onions, garlic, potato, salt, nutmeg and broth; bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and boil for 5 to 10 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender. Meanwhile, trim off tough stems from spinach. Stir spinach and peas into soup; cover and boil for about 5 minutes or until spinach is tender. Use an immersion blender in the pot, or transfer to a blender in batches, and purée until smooth. Return to pot, if necessary. Add milk and heat over low heat, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes until steaming (do not let boil). Drizzle in lemon juice, stirring constantly; season to taste with pepper. In a small bowl, stir together yogurt and basil, mint or chives. Ladle soup into warm bowls and add a dollop of herbed yogurt; swirl slightly.

Tips: For the best texture in puréed soups, use an oblong, baking-type potato rather than a waxy-type new potato.

Be sure to rinse the spinach well to remove any sand and shake off excess moisture (there’s no need to dry it) before trimming.

To save on preparation time, you can use about 6 oz. (175 g) baby spinach (6 cups/1.5 l packed) and skip the trimming step.

Source: Dairy Farmers of Canada

Hodgepodge

I made this traditional Maritime dish last week and with its light sauce it’s a scrumptious way to eat a whole bunch of vegetables at once.

  • 12 baby new potatoes, cut in half
  • 1 c. thickly sliced carrots
  • 2 c. broccoli florets
  • 1 c. sugar snap peas, snow peas or green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 c. frozen green peas
  • 2 tbsp. butter1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon or dried savory or dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 c. milk, heated
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard or dry mustard
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil or dill (optional)

In a large saucepan, combine potatoes and carrots; add cold water to cover by 2 inches and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender. Add broccoli, sugar snap peas and green peas; boil for 3 min. or until tender-crisp. Drain; set aside. Return pan to medium heat; melt butter. Sauté onion, tarragon, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper for about 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in flour; sauté for 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in heated milk and mustard. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly; reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking for about 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in vegetables and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and sprinkle with fresh herbs (if using).

Tips: You can use different vegetables: start with potatoes and add 4-1/2 cups (1.125 l) other vegetables, adding hard vegetables with the potatoes and more tender ones for the cooking time they require.

Healthy Eating Tip: All these veggies add up to a great fibre boost. Most Canadians don’t get enough fibre, found in whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and vegetables as well as fruit. Add a dark rye or whole wheat roll and desert starring frozen yogurt topped with frozen raspberries and you’re good to go!

Source: Dairy Farmers of Canada

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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