To create a recipe for this contest I went outside the last part of April and picked what I had available in the garden. I found oregano, leeks, asparagus and rhubarb. This became the base for an essence of spring recipe. The rhubarb adds a citrus flavor; which is balanced with the nutty, earthy pistou. It is truly a layering of flavors.
- 1 medium leek (white portion only), cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 10 small new potatoes, quartered
- 6 fresh asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup chopped fresh rhubarb
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts, toasted
- 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- In a large saucepan, saute the leek, carrot and red pepper in oil until crisp-tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in stock and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the asparagus, rhubarb, sugar, salt and pepper; cover and simmer 4-6 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.
- Meanwhile, place the oregano, hazelnuts, oil, garlic and salt in a food processor; cover and pulse until blended. Serve with soup. Yield: 6 servings.
Originally published as Spring Essence Soup with Pistou in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2012, p206
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