During our last trip to Ireland, Sheila and I had lunch in many different restaurants, in both big cities and small villages throughout the country. We were surprised to see that there were two comfort foods common to every mid-day menu: Brown Bread and Irish Peasant Soup. While I’m traveling, if I find something I like to eat, I tend to stick with it, just to be on the safe side. Sheila says I should be more adventurous, but IMO, odd sauces can cover up a LOT of mystery meat.
Having said that, we discovered that each of the places had different recipes for the soup. Sheila came up with this combination of vegetables after striking up a friendship with a chatty cook who revealed that the soups are basically created using whatever is fresh from the garden that week.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4 stalks celery, (no leaves) diced into 1/4 inch cubes
- 2 quarts (64 ounces) organic low sodium chicken broth (Swanson’s)
- 1 teaspoon powdered garlic
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 ¾ cups baby carrots, sliced
- 3 parsnips, peeled and sliced (about 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon fine sea salt or Kosher salt
- 2 cups coarsely chopped kale
- Saute diced celery in olive oil until translucent (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
- Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth if needed to keep from sticking.
- Add powdered garlic and onion powder. Stir.
- Add sliced carrots, sliced parsnips, minced garlic and salt.
- Add 1 cup more chicken broth, stir, cover and bring to low boil, cooking until parsnips fork tender (about 20 minutes).
- Stir occasionally.
- After parsnips are fork tender, add the kale and the remaining chicken broth, cover and continue on simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes.
- Remove soup from pot a little at a time and puree in blender or food processor until desired consistency, setting aside until entire contents are pureed.
- Return puree to pot and lightly season with salt, etc. to taste.
- Reheat before serving.
It’s easy to substitute other veggies if parsnips or kale are out of season or unavailable. Keep the seasoning, liquids, and measurements the same. The basic recipe is quite versatile. Promise: nobody will die if you switch out collard greens for the kale. 😉