Imperial Yunnan Tea and Garden Veggie Soup

Oct 3, 2012

September 18th and the weather turned surprisingly chilly.  I know it’s New England … it’s September… But every year I swear I’m a little surprised when the weather cools down.  And with the rain and gray skies it seemed much more Fall-ish than the previous day’s sunny 70’s.  So what’s a girl to do?  Brew up some tea and make soup?  Yup!

I took stock of the root cellar and what’s growing in the garden and made a delightful lunch!  A few days ago we pulled some carrots out of the garden and harvested all our potatoes.  That’s the best “job” – potato harvesting.  If you haven’t had a chance to do it – you have to try it sometime.  The summer starts to wind down, the potato plants start dying, the weeds start growing larger than the plants and eventually the weeds completely eclipse them.  And then you come along and pull some weeds and do a little digging and the earth you carefully tended all summer gives you lots of lovely potatoes!  It’s especially special for us since we battled some serious potato bugs in our community garden plot this year. But our diligence has paid off and the basement has a Fall and Winter’s supply of taters!

But back to the soup… So I was looking around for something to make and, realizing I didn’t have any vegetable stock and needed a little something-something for the soup, I had an a-ha moment … tea!  I thought “why just make a soup for yourself – when you can turn it into a blog post”!  So I grabbed what has been my go to tea this week – Imperial Yunnan Black tea from China – and brewed up a pot.  The results were delicious, both the cup of tea I drank and the soup I made!  I hope you think so too.

6 tsp. Imperial Yunnan
5 cups water
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup chopped onions
3 cups peeled, diced potatoes
1 1/2 cups peeled, diced carrots
4  cups chopped spinach
2 Tbsp fresh chopped dill
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp mustard


Place loose leaf tea in a teapot.  Pour boiling water over the leaves and steep for 4 minutes.  Strain and set brewed tea aside.

In a medium pot melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and onion and saute for about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute another minute.  (Leave the kitchen for a minute just so you can have the pleasure of coming back in and smelling this onion/garlic goodness.)

Cooking onions for Imperial Yunnan tea and garden veggie soup

After your olfactory senses have been delighted, add the potatoes, carrots and brewed tea.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Fresh Home Grown Potatoes in a variety of colors…

Colorful Fresh Picked Carrots from the garden

Chopped Potatoes … you’re going to taste great!

Put on the new raincoat that you just got but haven’t tested yet.  Put on your boots then skip to the back garden, relishing in the fact that you’re outside.  Dance around a little by your garden, enjoying the beautiful vegetables you’re growing while you stay dry in your new raincoat that – as advertised – does repel the raindrops.  Snip off some tasty looking spinach leaves.  Greet the neighbor’s dogs that are barking at you.  Snip off a little fresh dill and then reluctantly return to the house.

Rinse the spinach leaves and chop.  Add to the soup, cover and cook for 8 minutes.  Add the dill, mustard, salt and pepper and simmer another 2 minutes.  Remove the soup from the heat and, using a potato masher, mash the soup a little so there’s a nice mix of chunky and smooth soup.  Return to the heat, add the half and half and heat another minute.

Ladle in to bowls and bask in the glow of good soup and praise for your cooking!  Enjoy…..

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