It’s time to make a spring tonic soup since the ice is out at Joe’s Pond!
Ah, April. Just when we thought it was safe to ditch the boots and winter coats, just as the daffodils delight with their beautiful spring show, we had a spring snow storm that left thousands without power.
The ice is out at Joe’s Pond!
But the good news is that the exact same day, the ice went out on Joe’s Pond in West Danville, the date many Vermonters record as the official start of spring. Wagers are made all year on the exact date and time. A large block is placed on the ice and a clock is attached. When the block breaks through the melted ice, the time is recorded and it is officially spring; this year April 19, 4:51 a.m. while a blizzard swarmed around the state!
Tomorrow, it will all be gone with the full sun and warm temperatures predicted. We call it poor man’s fertilizer, as once it melts everything will be greener and the first leaves will appear.
Lots of things are sprouting now, and signs of spring are everywhere. My chives are flourishing! The man who sells sweet spring-dug parsnips has assumed his annual perch at the side of the road, and fiddleheads and ramps will not be far behind.
Green leaves please
A local farm grew beautiful garden sorrel this year, a time when we crave anything leafy and not a root! I bought two small bunches and knew they would end up in a spring soup along with those parsnips.
When I was growing up, we children loved to chew on the wild sheep sorrel we called “sour grass.” It was quite tart and sour, but we loved it. Mom sometimes added it to soups, a vibrant and almost lemony flavor.
Let’s lighten this up a little
Traditional French sorrel soup is made with onions or leeks, chicken stock, and is enriched with both egg yolks and heavy cream. Lightening it up to reduce the saturated fat and make it heart healthy meant just a few swaps. I used a tasty vegan butter, coconut milk rather than the heavy cream and omitted the egg yolks, adding a potato for body instead. I also used my homemade vegetable stock from all the Easter dinner trimmings.
The sorrel I got at the farm was on the mild side, so I tossed in the zest and juice of a lemon as well to enhance the sour element. The sweet parsnip balanced it all out.
Not quite the green we crave
Even with the changes I made, it is still a hearty and satisfying soup. What it is not is very pretty. The second the sorrel hits the heat, it fades to olive drab. So a sprinkle of green chives and a few edible flowers will help with the visual.
She might not win the beauty contest, but will delight in the flavor competition!
Spring Sorrel and Parsnip Soup
- 2 tbsp. butter or vegan butter
- 1 large leek, small dice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 spring-dug parsnips, small dice
- 1 russet potato, small dice
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 1 can of coconut milk, regular or light
- 10 ounces sorrel, chopped up
- 2 tbsp. snipped chives
- Zest and juice of one lemon
Melt butter over medium high heat in a stock pot. When bubbly, add the leek and garlic and sauté until the leek is tender but not browned.
Add the parsnips, potato, and vegetable broth, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are tender.
Using an immersion blender, or regular blender in batches, purée the the soup to whatever consistency you like from lumpy to very smooth.
Add the coconut milk and warm, then toss in the sorrel just until it softens, followed by the chives.
Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest, taste for seasoning, and serve up, garnishing with a few more chives and some edible flowers if you like. Great served with crunchy croutons or a nice slice of baguette.
From: Two Tramps in Mud Time
The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.
~ Robert Frost
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