I’m beginning to believe I’m at my best when faced with no leftovers at lunch, and a bunch of disjointed ingredients. I mean, really – smoked pork shoulder, parsnips and collards in a soup? But that’s what I made for lunch yesterday, and you know what?
It was pretty damn good.
We’d smoked a huge pork shoulder last summer, and realizing we’d never be able to eat it all before it went bad, we chopped it, divided it into 8-ounce portions, vacuum-sealed and froze it. (Have I mentioned how much we love our Food Saver?) I didn’t even think about the jars of roast turkey we’d canned last summer, which is probably a good thing, because a nice, smoky flavor was just what this soup needed.
And it’s exactly what it got.
Another nice thing about this soup is that the parsnips, once pureed, gave the soup a nice creamy smoothness, mitigating the need for any cream or coconut milk. The spices not only enhanced the smokiness of the pork, but gave the dish a bit of a spicy kick; the collards, which take well to braising, provided the soup some additional “chew” and boosted the nutritional content.
It was altogether a lovely, one-bowl meal.
In the interest of transparency (and because you can see it in the photo), I added a cup of sweet corn to the soup that we’d frozen last fall. I left it out of the written recipe because it didn’t add a whole lot of flavor to the overall dish and it increased the carbohydrate count by about 20 grams per serving; had I calculated the nutritional value of the soup before I cooked it, I’d have left it out. You can certainly add it if you want, but without it the recipe is Whole30 compliant. Leave out the pork and the dish is vegetarian; sub the ghee with coconut oil, and it’s vegan. If you don’t eat pork, smoked turkey – preferably the thigh or leg – would be equally good.
No smoked pork shoulder? Try it with smoked pork chops, which are available at most grocery stores. You could also replace the parsnips with a large sweet potato.
- 2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 10 ounces parsnips, peeled and cut into large pieces
- 3 cups water, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups collards or other hearty greens, rinsed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 8 ounces smoked pork, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- Heat the ghee in a small stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the onions, celery and red bell pepper until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and the parsnips; reduce the heat slightly, cover and simmer until the parsnips are fork tender, about 10 minutes.
- Carefully transfer the soup to the bowl of food processor or blender and process until smooth. Return the mixture to the pot; stir in the remaining ingredients, including the last cup of water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the
- collards are tender.
- Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Serve immediately.
- Nutrition (per serving): 293 calories, 13.9g total fat, 56.6mg cholesterol, 1929.4mg sodium, 754.3mg potassium, 21.5g carbohydrates, 7.2g fiber, 6.1g sugar, 21.9g protein