Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cheesy Spinach Soup with Potato (a fun soup for St. Patrick's Day)!

I was actually surprised at how tasty this soup was. I mean, I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised, because it came from a food blog that I love. But how could something so healthy and green be so yummy? Well, it's probably the cheese!

I think this soup is a fun and festive meal or side for St. Patrick's Day. You can call it Luck of the Irish Soup! It also is a good idea for Halloween, when it can be Witches Brew Soup or Spooky Green Soup. But, you don't have to eat this soup only two times out of the year, you can eat it any time. It's super healthy, easy to make, and delicious. Serve the cheesy spinach soup with some grilled cheese sandwiches, if you want to make it a heartier meal. I used the leftover swiss cheese for the grilled cheese sandwiches and they tasted great. I also included a recipe below for grilled cheese because I seriously had to look up on the Internet how to make grilled cheese sandwiches. So, if you are like me, you might benefit from having the recipe!

Enjoy & have a happy (and safe) St. Patrick's Day. Here in Annapolis we are getting ready for a shamrock snowstorm, even though it's 60 degrees today. I am hoping that Spring will come soon and stick around for good!

Recipe for Cheesy Spinach Soup with Potato (a fun soup for St. Patrick's Day)!

3 Tbsp. of unsalted butter
1 medium to large yellow onion, chopped coarsely
2 cloves of garlic, chopped coarsely
A dash or two of salt
Several grinds of freshly ground black pepper
A pinch or two of ground nutmeg
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into about 1 inch cubes
4 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth, if you want to make it vegetarian)
9 ounces of baby spinach leaves (I used the the pre-rinsed/packaged kind)
1/4 cup of fresh parsley leaves
4 ounces of Swiss cheese, grated
1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
Sour cream or greek yogurt, for topping (optional)

Put the butter into a large pot and melt over medium heat. Add in the onions and cook until they are tender, about 4 - 5 minutes. Add in the chopped garlic, potato, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the chicken broth and bring the broth to a boil. Then adjust heat to medium low so the soup simmers, and cover the pot. Cook for 10 - 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when poked with a fork.

Pour in the baby spinach leaves and parsley. Stir so the spinach leaves are covered by the broth. Cover the pot and cook until the spinach leaves are wilted, about 2 minutes. Then turn off the heat and remove pot from heat. Carefully puree the soup with an immersion blender until the soup is smooth and creamy. Return the soup to the stovetop and put the heat on low. Stir in the Swiss cheese and stir until the cheese is fully melted. Stir in the heavy cream. Taste soup, add extra salt, pepper, and/or nutmeg if desired. Serve soup and garnish each bowl with sour cream or greek yogurt and parsley leaves, if using.

Recipe Makes 4 - 6 servings.
Recipe Adapted from: Annie's Eats

I know this might seem silly, but I actually had to Google how to make grilled cheese sandwiches! I mean, I knew the basic concept, but I still needed that extra support. So here is a recipe for grilled cheese sandwiches that you can eat with the soup, and you can use the leftover Swiss cheese for the sandwiches.

Recipe for Grilled Swiss Cheese Sandwiches (makes one sandwich)

2 pieces of white sandwich bread
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, slightly softened so it spreads well
Slices of Swiss cheese
A very small pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)

Put a large saute pan on the stovetop and turn heat on medium high. While pan is heating, butter both sides of the two pieces of bread (making sure to leave 1/2 Tbsp. leftover for the pan). Once pan is hot, add the remaining 1/2 Tbsp. of butter to the pan. Once butter it is melted and slightly sizzling, put one piece of bread in the pan and top with slices of cheese. Sprinkle on the nutmeg if using.  Put the other piece of bread on top. Cook for a couple minutes and then flip (the bottom side should be light brown and toasty). Cook for about another minute and then transfer to a plate. Eat it while it's hot!
*If you make additional sandwiches, make sure to put additional butter in the pan before you make each one.