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festive-holiday-soup-linkMade with a combination of two different soups, and served with a dollop of fresh cream swirled into a festive pattern, this starter dish is stunning as it is healthy and delicious. Plus, both soups are quick and easy to make!

Makes: 6 cups of each soup

Note: Both soups will be thick so that they don’t run together when served. You want a distinct division between the two.

Green Goodness Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock, divided
8 oz. zucchini, chopped
8 oz. sweet green peas
8 oz. broccoli florets
3 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh spinach or kale, washed, tough stems removed
Salt and pepper

1. Heat olive oil and butter in a 4-quart pot. Add onion, celery, salt and pepper and sauté over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add garlic and continue to cook for about a minute. Add 1 cup of stock, cover and simmer until celery is soft.

4. Add zucchini, peas, broccoli, thyme, stock, and just enough water to cover vegetables. Continue to cook until broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes.

5. Carefully ladle hot soup mixture into a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Pour half of the mixture back into the 4-quart pot.

7. Add spinach to blender with remaining soup. Let stand for a few minutes (just until spinach wilts a bit) then puree until smooth. Pour spinach mixture back into the pot and stir to combine. Taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.

8. Gently rewarm just until soup is hot again.

Note: It is important not to overcook the vegetables in this recipe. You want the colour to remain bright green for the festive look.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
2 (12 oz.) jars roasted red peppers
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream

1. In a 4-quart pot, sweat the onion, carrot and celery until the onions are translucent and the carrot and celery are softened.

2. Drain the roasted peppers, coarsely chop, and add to the onion/carrot/celery mix. Pour in the chicken broth and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

3. Carefully ladle the soup into a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Return to the pot, and rewarm soup over low heat until ready to serve; stirring occasionally.

Prepare for Serving: Warm the heavy cream in a small saucepan. Using two 1/2 cup measuring cups, fill with each soup, and gently pour both at the same time into white serving bowls. Slowly pour about a tablespoon of heavy cream into the middle of the soup. Take a knife and gently pull the cream into a festive swirl pattern. Serve.