Rita's Tarragon Soup


SHAKER HERB SOUP

Go to taste on the fresh herbs here.

3-4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup minced chives

2 tablespoons minced tarragon or more to taste

2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley

1/4 cup watercress, chopped

2-1/2 cups finely diced celery

Salt and pepper to taste

2 to 2-1/2 quarts chicken broth

Fontina toasts (opt)

Melt butter in pot over medium heat. Add chives, tarragon and celery. Simmer for a few minutes until herbs smell fragrant. Add broth, bring to a simmer again until soup is hot. Serve with Parmesan toasts: Brush thin slices of baguette with olive oil. Top with a nice layer of shredded Fontina. Run under broiler just until cheese starts to melt. Sprinkle with fresh minced parsley if you like.

Tarragon: Russian or French?

True French tarragon is propagated from cuttings, so if you see a packet of tarragon seeds, you’ll be purchasing what is called Russian tarragon, which grows quite well but has little flavor. When buying the plant, take a piece and bite it – true tarragon has a numbing effect on the tongue. (Don’t worry: it only lasts a few seconds!).

Growing Tarragon: This hearty perennial likes good drainage and the roots don’t go very deep into the ground but rather spread out, so if you pot this herb up, make sure your container has enough surface area.

Health Benefits: Tarragon is a good herb for helping lower blood pressure. Chives are good for your heart. Celery helps lower blood pressure plus it is good for your bones. Watercress is a great pepper substitute. Parsley is like a vitamin pill in a plant.