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Spinach Soup
with Fresh Herbs and Roasted Alliums
By Charlie Burke

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One of this year’s most successful Growers Dinners sponsored by the
New Hampshire Farm to Restaurant Connection was held at Mis en Place, a gem
of a restaurant in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire run by owner/chefs Terry
Adrignola and Siobhan Magee. The intimate dining room and unobtrusive
service by the friendly wait staff provide a comfortable and relaxed setting for
Terry and Siobhan’s fine menu. They use many local seasonal ingredients in their
kitchen, so diners are served beautifully prepared dishes which reflect what is
fresh and available locally. We were not surprised, then, to find three tables
reserved for a week day lunch in November on a recent visit.

Our Growers Dinner began with a remarkable spinach soup which had great
depth of flavor. Siobhan has generously shared her recipe which contains roasted
garlic, shallots and scallions, along with fresh parsley, thyme and basil. Lemon
juice and zest, along with sherry complete the background to the earthy spinach
flavor. Fresh spinach is still available locally, and this soup can be made a day or
two ahead and would be an ideal start to this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. At Mis
en Place, it was served with a dollop of lemon flavored crème fraiche, but a swirl
of heavy cream will work, as well.

Four servings:

8 – 10 ounces fresh spinach, washed
2 large shallots
1 medium head of garlic
1 bunch of scallions, white and light green stalks only, or 1 small leek, trimmed
and washed
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium potato in ½ inch cubes
Extra virgin olive oil
4 cups mild chicken stock
3 prigs of fresh parsley, including stems
2-4 sprigs fresh thyme, soft parts of stems included
6-8 fresh basil leaves (if unavailable, substitute a small pinch of dried tarragon)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup medium sherry
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heavy cream, optional

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Slice the top off the garlic bulb and drizzle the
top with olive oil. Place the garlic, unpeeled shallots and scallions or leek into a
shallow oven proof dish. Roast them for approximately 40 minutes. The garlic
and shallots should be softened and all should be lightly browned.

Film a heavy pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the chopped
onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring until softened but not browned. Add
the spinach and cook until wilted. Add chicken stock, herbs, potato, a generous
pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper, along with the scallions or leek and
the peeled shallots. Squeeze 5 cloves of the roasted garlic into the pan. Bring to a
boil, lower the heat to simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Add the lemon zest, half
of the juice and the sherry and leave over heat for 5 additional minutes.

Blend the soup thoroughly with a stick blender or in a blender (always hold a
towel over the cover of the blender when blending hot liquids). Taste, adding salt
and pepper as needed. Add the remainder of the lemon juice if the flavor is not
bright and slightly acidic. Serve, drizzling the surface with a teaspoon of cream if
using. If the soup is prepared ahead, cool uncovered, then refrigerate sealed with
plastic wrap. Reheat the soup over low – medium heat.

This soup typifies the innovative cuisine at Mis en Place*. Siobhan’s use of
roasted alliums is a great idea to deepen and mellow the assertive spinach flavor,
and the fresh herbs and sherry raise it a level. Open for lunch and dinner, Mis en
Place is well worth a trip to Wolfeboro, but be sure to call for a reservation!

Mis en Place                
603 569 5788
96 Lehner St
Wolfeboro, NH 03894

Lunch: Monday – Friday
Dinner: Monday - Saturday

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the NH Farm to
Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along with
his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather Hill
Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  
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