Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain
in the Autumn for a month or so

'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Bill's Spinach soup

As I am again in Spain for a month or so, I thought I would make a soup I have only very occasionally attempted in the past and that is a long time ago. However, I thoroughly enjoy spinach soup, first becoming familiar with it when I lived in Casablanca (Morocco) in the mid-1970s, when it was one of the soups that my maid there made quite regularly, in her case shredding the leaves using a hand-operated moulinex. I've had it occasionally in restaurants since then, almost exclusively in France, but most British people seem to pooh-pooh the very idea of eating it, sadly, so at home in Scotland on the rare occasions I make it, sometimes from fresh leaves, but more usually from frozen, it is only for me. However, here in Spain big packages of fresh washed and chopped spinach are plentiful and cheap (€1- for a 300 gram bag) so this morning in the supermarket when I saw it I thought it would make a nice light lunch, specially after the 'pigging-out' I indulged in yesterday evening. I haven't followed any specific recipe, what follows is just what I thought would be reasonable, so I 'm sure anyone who wants to try this could easily incorporate their own variants and it would still turn out delicious.


Spinach soup
(Ingredients)

Large bag of fresh, washed and chopped spinach (300 grams)
Medium onion
1-2 cloves of garlic, depending on size
500ml (or a little more - say 1 pint) of vegetable stock
Freshly ground pepper, salt and herbs to taste (e.g. parsley, or whatever you fancy)
Large knob of butter
1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Method
- Heat the butter with the olive oil in a large solid pan;
- Add chopped onion and cover to 'sweat' (sauté) for 5 or 10 minutes over a moderate heat, removing lid occasionally to let excess moisture steam off;
- Add the chopped spinach, pressing it down into the pan with a spoon so you can get the lid on (once it begins to steam/cook it will quickly reduce in volume); allow roughly 5-8 minutes over a moderate heat for this. As a guide to cooking pot sizes, the largest I have here in Spain (apart from a 24cm sauté pan with lid) is a 20cm one that is about 9.5cm deep and this is the one I used today;
- Add the chopped garlic, ground black pepper, salt (just a very little) and herbs, cover the pan again and allow to cook a little longer (say for another 2-3 minutes);
- For the vegetable stock you could make your own, buy ready-made or do as I usually do; use a vegetable stock cube (in my case 'Maggi' or you could use that other well known brand 'Knorr') made up with boiling water;
- Add nearly-boiling stock, cover and bring the whole pan to a simmer for about 5 minutes, no more.

Blending the soup
- I use a hand-blender which comes with a handy blending jug;
- Ladle the cooked soup and some of the stock into a couple of jug-loads of the blending jug and 'blitz' until smooth;
- Each jug-load of blended soup can be added to a large bowl, in my case a large glass ('Pyrex') bowl.

This results in a moderately, but not too, thick 'emulsion' which is obviously dark green in colour and absolutely full of health-giving chlorophyll; if you prefer your soup to be slightly thinner then just stir in a little extra boiling water until it reaches your preferred consistency;
- Your efforts are rewarded with a pot of delicious soup.

My batch of soup today provided about 7 large ladles of soup, enough for 2 quite generous helpings, or 3 more modest helpings. I usually swirl a little double cream onto the top of the soup when serving it - to add a little extra richness and it looks nice,too. Enjoy!

PS/ If you want to print this recipe, I have put a .pdf version on-line here. You can also see other recipes available for download in .pdf format in my Spanish website here.

PPS/ The recipe for one of my other favourite soups, Broccoli and Blue Cheese, has already appeared in this blog and you can see the article about it here.

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