These poached vegetables represent simplicity in prep and cooking, but AMAZING complexty of flavor! In a unique and loose reinterpretation of a “garden vegetable soup,” leeks, fennel, and new potatoes are poached in a smokey ginger lemongrass broth.
This is a one-pot dish in which chopping the vegetables is all the work required and cooking time lasts all of 15 minutes. Friends, family, or guests will think you spent hours on this dish.
Wherever you find a good soup you will find love. Soup for me is as comforting as any dish. I don’t poach often, and when I do it’s usually fish or chicken. This poached vegetables recipe is actually an adaptation of a boneless chicken thigh dish. Poaching is great for infusing flavor in an ingredient like chicken, especially when you prefer not to use fat. You are essentially simmering the item slowly in a flavored broth rendering this beautiful aroma and layered flavoring. On a whim, I wanted to try with some select vegetables for a vegan option.
What Vegetables Are Included This Vegetable Soup
Choice of vegetables is mostly optional. Lemongrass, bay leaf, ginger, chili pepper, and thyme are the essentials as they provide the aroma and flavor. The rest just depends on what’s available.
- New Potatoes
- Fresh Thyme
- Vegetable Broth
- Lemon Grass
- Bay Leaves
- Dried Smoked Chili Peppers (morita or chipotle)
- Black pepper
STEPS FOR MAKING VEGETABLE SOUP
In a large stockpot bring all ingredients except the Swiss chard to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
Remove the chili peppers, lemongrass, thyme sprigs, and ginger. Add the swiss chard and cook (3 – 5 minutes)until the greens begin to wilt and are tender.
Be flexible with vegetable options. Use freshest ones available to you, but defer to harder/crunchier type ones. I used fennel, kohlrabi, and potatoes, but cauliflower, carrot, turnips, etc. could work as well.
Poaching is a sneaky, under-utilized technique that coaxes hidden sweetness from these vegetables which is a surprising element. Even more fun is the fact that the process/method of cooking leaves the individual flavors intact but in an elevated way.
The broth is highly slurpable. It’s so fresh and clean you’ll want to reserve some for later use. The broth can easily be frozen and kept a few months. Use it as the broth base to grain dishes such as cooking rice, quinoa, or even savory oatmeal.
I basically went for a doctored up store-bought stock version. I added dried chile peppers because I wanted some subtle smokiness. I used the ginger to add some sourness to balance out the sweetness released by the vegetables. If you have the luxury of time, I recommend making the broth ahead and allowing the ingredients to come together before adding the vegetables. If not you’ll still be fine.
Texturewise I really appreciate that the vegetables, for the most part, maintain some of their crunch. Obviously, you can cook them longer if that’s not your thing, but I personally like some crunch in my “vegetable soup.”
MORE SOUP RECIPES
MAKING THIS SOUP
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- 2 leeks white and light green parts, thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound new potatoes sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 medium fennel bulb thinly sliced
- 2 small kohlrabi bulbs sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 1/2 quart water
- 4 slices ginger
- 1 stalk lemon grass cut into quarters
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 dried smoked chile peppers morita or chipotle
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 bunch Swiss chard stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
- In a large saucepan or pot, bring all ingredients except Swiss chard to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- Remove the chile peppers, lemongrass, thyme sprigs, and ginger.
- Add the Swiss chard and cook until the greens are tender about 3 minutes.