Cam's Sour Soup

I have happy associations with this soup.  Cam made it for the first time, almost to the date, 3 years ago.  I left work early, not feeling well, trudged through freezing cold winter weather and came home to a warm apartment filled with the smell of this perfect soup.  

It's an unusual soup, unlike the ones we usually make.  It's perky with sour notes of lime and lemon grass, spicy with chiles and ginger, and full of comforting root vegetables.  

Serves 4.

Sour Soup

about 1.5 lbs of daikon, peeled, chopped

3 bay leaves

2 lemon grass stalks, 3" pieces, crushed

3" fresh ginger, peeled - half cut into coins, half minced

4 1/2 cups water

1 tablespoon soy sauce

dash sesame oil

dash olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 red fresno chile, seeded, minced

3 carrots, peeled, diced 

1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced

1 celery root, peeled, diced

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 quart chicken stock

zest + juice of 1 lime

8 oz mushrooms, halved, sliced

1 bunch collard greens, stems discarded, chopped

s + p

chopped fresh cilantro leaves

In a small pot, bring daikon, bay, lemon grass, ginger coins, water, soy and sesame oil to a boil. Lower to a simmer.  Cover and simmer until daikon is tender, about 50 minutes.  Remove leaves, lemon grass and ginger coins.  Set aside.

(While the daikon stock is simmering - prep the remaining vegetables.)

Heat a dash of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Once hot, add minced ginger, garlic, chile, carrots, leek, celery root and thyme.  Saute until glossy and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, lime zest, daikon and daikon stock.  Bring to a boil, add mushrooms, simmer until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.  Stir in collard greens, cook 2 minutes more.  Season with lime juice, salt and pepper.  Garnish with cilantro.