Marco Polo Market Soup


Eating locally has never meant giving up global flavors for me. I just love food from everywhere else too much. Even back in the days of the Eat Local Challenges, spices got special dispensation under “Marco Polo” rules. Bringing local ingredients to the forefront of recipes from all over the world is especially satisfying in a food-nerdy way, confirming my conviction that eating locally and seasonally is good fun in its variety.

I picked up all but my Marco Polo ingredients at the last Winter Farmers’ market in Rollinsford (the next one is February 13th), and made batch after batch of this satisfying soup inspired by the Lonely Planet’s newish Thailand: From the Source cookbook. (Which I’ve had checked out from the public library for, ahem, awhile. It’s excellent.) It’s the lemongrass and ginger and chili combo that really sends this over the top on a dark winter night. 

Thai Northern-style Spicy Soup

From the market:

1 package Kellie Brook Farm chicken backs, for making chicken stock

1tofu  Two Farmers Farm shallot, minced

1 package Tofu and 1/2 tsp Maine Sea Salt, from Seacoast Eat Local’s table

The Herb Farmacy cilantro, 1 – 2 tablespoons minced

Riverside Farm bag of kale

From the freezer (local in season, squirreled away for winter):

1 inch Wake Robin Farm ginger, grated

White Gate Farm chile peppers, to taste

garden mint, 1 – 2 tablespoons minced

From away:

1 tbl Fish sauce

2 – 4 Kaffir lime leaves

2 tbl lemongrass (though we did once grow this in the garden)

Spices: 1 1/2 tsp of 5 spice powder or 1/4 tsp each of coriander, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper

Make the chicken stock. If you’ve made it ahead, bring it back to a boil then reduce to medium-low.

Add the ginger, kaffir lime leaves, shallot, lemongrass, fish sauce, chiles, and spices.

Cube the tofu and add. Remove stems from kale and rough chop or tear with your hands and add to soup. Allow to simmer about 10 minutes.

Stir in chopped mint and cilantro and serve!

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