After a long winter in New York, the city is slowly coming to life. The trees are starting to get greener, and fields of narcissuses and tulips are blooming in local parks. It seems like we are all craving something lighter, greener, and more beautiful on our plates, as well. This soup should have been named "spring awakening," but I am afraid Google's search engine optimization will give it "hard to find" ratings :). I am obsessed with using cauliflower in three different colors like green and yellow, and the purple variety excites me the most. I always find it at Fairway on the Upper West Side. My other essentials are Brussels sprouts, asparagus, baby zucchini, baby carrots, red bell pepper and the tender center ribs of celery. Ingredients may vary depending on what's happening at the farmer's market today. Home-made chicken stock is another important component of this recipe. With my beautiful copper pot from Lagostina, I simmer six drumsticks in water for over an hour to extract flavor, along with vegetables that I discard later, seasoned with salt and black peppercorns. Of course, store-bought low-sodium stock is always an option, but I warn you it won't be the same. I cut all of my veggies very finely to give the soup finesse, and add them at the end of the cooking process to preserve all of their vitamins. To serve, I like to take meat off of the bones and serve large chunks of it in each bowl, drizzle with good quality olive oil and sprinkle with finishing salt and extra spice. Enjoy!
Ingredients: chicken drumsticks, onion, carrot, celery, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, asparagus, zucchini, potato, bell pepper, bay leaf, olive oil, salt, pepper.
Break cauliflower into tiny florets.
Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables- raw, steamed, baked or deep fried, it is incredibly versatile in the ways that you can prepare it. It also absorbs salt and spices like a sponge but still keeps its cool crunch when cooked. So for this soup, I add cauliflower at the very end to keep its firmness and vitamins intact.
Color is an important component in recipes that I create. So every single time I spot these gorgeous cauliflower heads in bright green, yellow and my favorite- purple, I tend to alway buy all three and figure out how to use them all later. And by the way, in case you can't locate those, buy regular white variety. It is as nutritiously packed as the other.
Now break broccoli into tiny florets, you will only need 1/4 cup of them. I used a glass 2-cup measuring cup to fill it with three different cauliflowers and broccoli florets.
Cut Brussels sprouts into quarters.
Baby carrots are irresistibly cute, I had to buy them for this soup but regular-size carrots will do as well. Remember that less goes a long way so you would only need 1/8 cup of diced carrot.
Cut it in half lengthwise, then slice thinly. Baby vegetables add some panache & style to any dish.
Same with baby zucchini. If you can't find these zucchini, buy regular size and make sure to dice them into small pieces.
Diced baby zucchini.
Dice onion finely.
Cut asparagus spears on a bias into 1/2" pieces. Cut half of red bell pepper into small dice.
My favorite part of celery is its center ribs, those are softer, tender and have beautiful pale-green leaves. Dice the ribs finely, including the leaves to add celery's delicate taste to the dish.
Peel and dice potato into 1/2'' cubes. If not using immediately, keep covered with a cold water in a bowl.
Herbs are an essential finishing tough to any of my soups.
This time, I am using a fragrant dill, chopped finely.
Make the soup: Heat a dash of oil in the pot, then add onion, carrot, bell pepper and zucchini. Sauté on medium heat for about 5 minutes stirring often, until vegetables are softened but not browned. Season with salt, turmeric, cumin and Piment D’Espelette. Turmeric will give the soup a beautiful golden hue and health benefits. Spices, such as turmeric, open up their aromatic oils once on the hot pan.
Then add celery and asparagus.
Stir with the vegetables and continue sautéing for another 5 minutes.
Add chicken drumsticks from the stock and potatoes, pour in hot stock and bring to a boil.
Once soup is boiling, add cauliflower and broccoli.
Add bay leaf.
Add brussels sprouts, green peas and cook for five minutes. Then add herbs, let the soup simmer for one more minute. Turn off the heat and let the soup stand for an hour to develop its flavors further.
My visual director and sous chef Vivian is anticipating the results. I like to take drumsticks out from the pot and shred the meat into big chunks, discarding the bones.
Ladle soup into each bowl and garnish with the meat. Sprinkle extra flaky salt and red pepper on top. Drizzle each plate with good-quality olive oil. Serve hot!
recipe detailsServes 8
IngredientsFor the stock
- 6 chicken drumsticks
- 1 whole onion, peeled
- 1 large carrot, peeled, cut into 3 pieces
- 1 celery stalk, cut into 3 pieces
- 5 black peppercorns
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup cauliflower (mix of purple, green, yellow or white varieties), tiny florets
- 1/4 cup broccoli, tiny florets
- ¼ cup zucchini, small diced
- 2 small center celery ribs with leaves or 1 large rib(I like center ribs), finely diced
- 4 asparagus spears, cut on a bias into 2” pieces
- 4 Brussels sprouts, quartered
- ½ red pepper, finely diced
- 2 baby carrots or 1 small carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 small onion or shallot, finely diced
- ¼ cup green peas
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled, diced
- 2 tablespoons dill, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon Piment D’Espelette
- 1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- Olive oil
- Make the stock: Wash chicken drumsticks thoroughly. Place chicken drumsticks and vegetables into 6-qt. pot and cover with cold water. Add black peppercorns and season with salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium low and continue cooking for 1½ hours, skimming foam often. Set aside.
- Make the soup: Heat a dash of oil in the pot, then add onion, carrot, bell pepper and zucchini. Sauté on medium heat for about 5 minutes stirring often, until vegetables are softened but not browned. Season with salt, turmeric, cumin and Piment D’Espelette. Kitchen tip: Turmeric will give the soup a beautiful golden hue and health benefits. Spices, such as turmeric, open up their aromatic oils once hit the hot pan.
- Then add celery and asparagus. Stir with the vegetables and continue sautéing for another 5 minutes. Add chicken drumsticks from the stock and potatoes, pour in hot stock and bring to a boil. Once soup is boiling, add cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and green peas, cook for 5 minutes. Then add bay leaf and dill, let the soup simmer for another minute. Turn off the heat and let the soup stand for an hour to develop its flavors further.
- To serve: Take the drumsticks out from the pot and shred the meat into big chunks, discard the bones. Place meat back into the soup. Ladle soup into each bowl and garnish with the meat. Sprinkle extra flaky salt and red pepper on top. Drizzle each plate with good-quality olive oil. Serve hot!