Pea Shoot Soup

Pea Shoot Soup 1

Hurray!!! It’s Spring again at Central Farm Markets! The Bethesda Market has been open all winter, but we’re getting ready to open the Pike and Mosaic Central Farm Markets in just a few weeks. All of the vendors are starting to return and we are so happy to get the season underway.

Two of the first things we see at the beginning of Spring – pea shoots and green garlic – are both great ways to welcome the warmer season. Both are featured in this delicious, simple Pea Shoot Soup. Also featured is the hardy, flavor-packed bone broth from Painted Hand Farm and the insanely fresh, delectable milk from Woodbourne Creamery.

Pea Shoot Soup 2

Pea shoots are the leaves that sprout from the traditional garden pea plant. Garden peas usually take all of Spring to grow. At the Young Harvests farm, pea shoots are harvested after just a few weeks, when the leaves are tender, young and literally bursting with a distinctive pea flavor. Pea shoots are packed with Vitamins A, C, and folic acid. They have a low energy density…in other words, they have fewer calories per mouthful. Pea shoots can be eaten hot or cold, in salads or just as a snack.

Pea Shoot Soup 3Green garlic is collected before the bulbs start to mature. Chop or slice white, light green, and the first few inches of the dark green leaves (as long as they are tender, not soggy or brown). The taste of green garlic is quite garlicky, but more moderate with a less intense bite. Whenever cooked, the green garlic sweetens, adding a brand new layer of depth to whatever dish you choose to make with it. Green garlic is well known as a natural health remedy that has long been used to treat various ailments. It boosts the immune system, is rich in iron, and has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities that can help prevent infection.

This is a perfect dish to make on a sunny afternoon after you leave the market. Pair it with a slice of Upper Crust Bakery bread and you’ve got yourself a fabulous meal. Pack it in a thermos and take it on a picnic. Enjoy the weather- finally!!!!

Pea Shoot Soup 5

Pea Shoot Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 2½ cups Bone Broth* (Painted Hand Farms)
  • ½ cup Whole Milk (Woodbourne Creamery at Rock Hill Orchard)
  • 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 6 heaping handfuls of Pea Shoots (Young Harvests)
  • 4 Green Garlic bulbs, chopped (Twin Springs Fruit Farm)
  • 2 heaping handfuls of Spinach (Young Harvests)
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter (Springfield Farm)

*Use store-bought vegetable broth to make this soup vegetarian

DIRECTIONS

In a large saucepan, bring stock and milk to boil; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.

Add green garlic to hot oil and cook until it starts to become translucent. Add pea shoots and cook for 1-2 minutes or until pea shoots wilt and green garlic is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add pea shoots mixture to stock mixture. Simmer uncovered for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Add raw spinach to mixture.

Using an immersion or regular blender, blend until vegetable mixture is almost smooth. I prefer to stop blending just before the soup is at the point of being pureed.

Stir butter into soup and season to taste. Garnish with a small handful pea shoots and serve hot.

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Spicy Beef Stew

Beef Stew 1

As we continue through these cold weeks, it’s always great to make something that can really warm you up after a windy day. I adapted a recipe that Debbie Moser, co-owner of Central Farm Markets, gave to me.   I wanted to share something that would be a great use of farm market ingredients, plus use up some of the other things that might be lying around your kitchen. This Spicy Beef Stew is perfect for warming up your family- plus the leftovers are just impeccable for packing up and taking to work with you the next day.

Beef Stew 2

I used a cut of beef from Liberty Delight Farms that I thought would work well for slow-cooking: a Tri-Tip Roast. It’s not the most tender cut, but after stewing in all of the delicious ingredients, it came out perfectly moist and easy to eat. A Tri-Tip is a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin sub-primal cut. Also known as a “triangle steak,” this cut was actually first made popular in California in the 1950’s. Since then, it has been given many names and been used in preparations that range from simple smoking to Dutch oven braising. Shane and Larry over at the Liberty Delight tent helped me pick this cut because it would work perfectly for my plan, and not cost an arm and a leg!

Though the cheese is a garnish, it really enhances the flavors in the stew. I wanted to choose something that would stand up to all of the bold, spicy flavors and not get lost in the mix. The recipe that Debbie gave me called for something as closely related to Monterey Jack as possible. Alan at Stonyman Gourmet Farmer suggested the Asiago Peppercorn as an option. And boy, what a great choice! This raw cow’s milk cheese, aged 14 months, contains whole peppercorns, sundried tomatoes, garlic, and ginger. The base cheese has the perfect hardness for crumbling and sprinkling atop a stew. The best part was, it wasn’t even lost in the flavor profile! I could tell every single time that I got a bite containing the cheese. As I’ve said, this is an optional ingredient- but definitely something that completes the entire experience!

The garnishes are part of what makes this stew special. Debbie suggested the tortilla strips, and they added a perfect crunch to the meal. I personally cannot call something a meal if it lacks a green vegetable, so I opted to sauté some Brussels sprouts to mix into my stew.  If you aren’t a fan of Brussels sprouts, you can always try kale, spinach, or broccoli instead. But I promise, there’s a reason the Brussels sprouts worked so well with this recipe- I encourage you to try it for yourself. Play around with the accompaniments. I’d love to find out what you’ve chosen to put in your stew!

Beef Stew 4

Spicy Beef Stew

Ingredients

  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2.5-3 lbs. Tri-Tip Sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes (Liberty Delight Farms)
  • 1 large Yellow Onion, diced (Twin Springs Fruit Farm)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped (Twin Springs Fruit Farm)
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 4 cups chicken or beef broth
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • ½ cup canned green chillies
  • 2 jalapeños, finely diced
  • 3 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 3 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (Two Acre Farm)
  • 2 Tbsp. green tabasco sauce
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Accompaniments:

  • 4 oz Asiago Peppercorn Cheese (Stonyman Gourmet Farmer)
  • 5 tortillas, cut into strips
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 ½ cups Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced (Twin Springs Fruit Farm)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (All Things Olive)
  • 1 small red onion, diced (Bending Bridge Farm)

Directions

Heat oil in a casserole over high heat until it simmers. Season the meat with salt and pepper to taste. Add the beef cubes in small batches and cook, using tongs to turn the pieces, until well browned on all sides. Do not crowd the pan. You will know when a piece of the meat is ready to turn because it will be easy to move from the bottom of the pan. If it is stuck, it’s not ready to turn. Remove the browned pieces to a large bowl.

Beef Stew 5

Add the onions and garlic with the bay leaf in the same casserole dish. Scrap the bottom of the dish to prevent sticking. Cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chilies, jalapeños, and browned meat with any juices left in the bowl.

Add the chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Stir to make sure all spices are adequately distributed.

Add the potatoes, Tabasco sauce, and vinegar. Simmer the stew, adjusting seasonings, salt, and pepper to taste.

Simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until potatoes are fully cooked.

Meanwhile, make the accompaniments…

For the tortilla strips:

Heat 1 cup canola oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, place tortilla strips in pan, flipping them around often, until brown and crispy. Take strips out of pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and place on a plate lined with paper towels.

For the Brussels sprouts:

Heat olive oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add the sprouts to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook sprouts to desired doneness.

Place tortilla strips, Brussels sprouts, crumbled Asiago cheese, and diced red onions in bowls. Serve stew in bowls and let people choose what they want to add.

Beef Stew 6

As always, I’ll be at the market to answer any questions you may have about my recipes!

Stay warm!