These poached vegetables represent simplicity in prep and cooking, but AMAZING complexty of flavor! In a unique and loose reinterpretation of a “vegetable soup,” leeks, fennel, and new potatoes are poached in a smokey ginger lemongrass broth. This is a one-pot dish in which chopping the vegetables is all the work required and cooking time lasts all of 15 minutes. Friends, family, or guests will think you spent hours on this dish.
Wherever you find a good soup you will find love. Soup for me is as comforting as any dish. I don’t poach often, and when I do it’s usually fish or chicken. This poached vegetables recipe is actually an adaptation of boneless chicken thigh dish. Poaching is great for infusing flavor in an ingredient like chicken , especially when you prefer not to use a fat. You are essentially simmering the item slowly in a flavored broth rendering this beautiful aroma and layered flavoring. On a whim I wanted to try with some select vegetables for a vegan option.
Fennel we regularly have on hand since we cook it so often, but a recent haul at my local farmers market also netted leeks and kohlrabi. I added new potatoes to make the dish a bit more hearty so feel free to treat as a main dish soup item. I suspect many different vegetables would be great candidates for poaching including carrots, turnips, etc. Fennel, leeks, and kohlrabi all have strong tastes with varying degrees of bitterness. Poaching these vegetables brings out their hidden sweetness which is a surprising element. Even more fun is the fact that the process/method of cooking leaves the individual flavors in tact but in an elevated way.
I go back and forth in terms of whether I treat this as a soup eating all vegetables and broth together vs. eating the vegetables alone outside of the broth. The benefit of the former is slurping all that intense, complex delicious broth. In the latter case aint nothing like biting into succulent poached vegetables and sucking all those juices from them. If you choose to eat the vegetables alone, reserve the broth for another dish at a later time. It’s great as a liquid for cooking any grain-based dish like rice, quinoa, etc.
The broth could easily be the hero of the dish given the complexity of flavor it produces and infuses the vegetables with. It’s the same process of making a stock. I started with a simple, store bought vegetable stock but feel free to use any homemade version. I basically went for a doctored up version. I added dried chile peppers because I wanted some subtle smokiness. I used the ginger to add some sourness to balance out the sweetness released by the vegetables. If you have the luxury of time, I recommend making the broth ahead and allowing the ingredients to come together before adding the vegetables. If not you’ll still be fine.
Texturewise I really appreciate that the vegetables for the most part maintain some of their crunch. Obviously you can cook them longer if that’s not your thing, but I personally like some crunch in my “vegetable soup.”
Dope beats, fresh eats. Enjoy!
Poached Vegetables in Smokey Ginger Lemongrass Broth
- 2 leeks white and light green parts, thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound new potatoes sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 medium fennel bulb thinly sliced
- 2 small kohlrabi bulbs sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 1/2 quart water
- 4 slices ginger
- 1 stalk lemon grass cut into quarters
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 dried smoked chile peppers morita or chipotle
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 bunch Swiss chard stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
In a large saucepan or pot, bring all ingredients except Swiss chard to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
Remove the chile peppers, lemongrass, thyme sprigs, and ginger.
Add the Swiss chard and cook until the greens are tender about 3 minutes.
I chopped my vegetables on the thicker side and so had to increase the cooking time. Also with the different aromatics, the longer you let them simmer and/or rest the more flavor as the ingredients really meld together quite well.
Vegetables will infuse the broth as well.