Size is not everything at this wonderful little farm stand in Rancho Sante Fe, California. Just north of San Diego, Chino Farms is a family-run farm that has been in business for over 30 years. Tucked in the countryside east of Del Mar, Chino Farms sells its just-harvested produce to any and all who stop at their roadside stand. Chefs and home cooks alike patiently stand in line to choose their produce. If you dine in any of the area’s best farm-to-table restaurants, you can be sure your veggies are from Chinos.
Since we were there as tourists, and unable to return to our kitchen to prepare a farm-fresh meal, we satsified ourselves with baskets of wild strawberries to nibble on as we drove down coastal route 101 on our way to the beach. In the evening, back at the Lodge at Torrey Pines, we were lucky enough to enjoy a meal at A.R. Valentien where we were told the chef uses fresh produce from Chino Farms.
I am going to slip this recipe right in. Flanked by a Christmas Eve house party with lots of gløgg and hors d’oeuvres and a looming New Year’s black tie dinner, I made this simple, healthy and restorative soup the other day for a gastronomique time-out.
In addition to a Christmas Eve party spread of food, we roasted a turkey for our Christmas Day meal. It may sound redundant on the heels of Thanksgiving, but for Thanksgiving this year we were graced with airport and airline food as we were in transit home from a trip to New York City. While we missed the traditional holiday, it was refreshingly civilized at JFK; we enjoyed a smooth glitch-free day of travel courtesy of the Thanksgiving holiday. We comforted ourselves with the thought of saving our turkey binge for Christmas Day, instead.
So, back to the recipe: I made this soup using the stock I made from our Christmas turkey, and filled it with vegetables left over from our party. While the recipe calls for turkey stock and turkey meat, chicken can easily be substituted. During the ever-so-festive-and-excessive holiday season, this homey soup is delicious, comforting and healthy. I cannot think of a better gastronomic time-out.
Turkey Vegetable Soup with Swiss Chard Serves 4-6
The chard adds heartiness to this flavorful soup. Choose either red or green chard; you will find the red chard will add a deep red color to the stock.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, halved lengthwise, cut in thick slices
3 large carrots, sliced 1/2″ thick
4 celery stalks, sliced 1/2″ thick on the diagonal
8 cups turkey stock
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups Swiss chard leaves, shredded
2 cups cooked turkey meat, in large chunks
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion, celery and carrots. Sauté over medium heat until the vegetables begin to soften, 3 minutes. Add turkey stock, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in Swiss chard and turkey meat. Simmer until chard is wilted. Discard bay leaf. Serve immediately.