If I had started this blog earlier last year it could well have been called spinach soup and other stories because in April I made and then we consumed more spinach soup than I care to remember.
For some reason I became obsessed with cooking up vast pans of the stuff. It was variations on a theme mind, spinach was always the key player but leeks, peas (nice), potatoes, bacon (crispy scattered on top is good) chickpeas (v good,) nettles (too much,) egg yolk (whisked in at last min = odd,) squeeze of lemon (soup goes funny colour but otherwise tasty) all featured, cream, sour and not (stirred in and blobbed on) made various appearances, nutmeg ( good but not too much which is very bad) was a special guest, I did a pretty good job of bubbling up most shades of green.
But variations aside, it was all essentially spinach soup. Needless to say, we overdosed and both ended up swearing to never touch the stuff again…….
‘Of course, we didn’t mean it, we just needed a break to appreciate how lovely you are, you green and fortifying soup you’
I renewed my acquaintance with my green friend yesterday lunchtime, it was a solitary lunch, but better that way, I think Vincenzo may need a few more months before I present him with a bowlful. I was uncharacteristically modest with quantities, I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with another 3 day panful while we are still getting comfortable with each other.
I kept things simple, sticking to the most basic of recipes and avoiding any erratic experimentation or fridge clearing. A mild onion, celery and carrot as the trusty foundations, a couple of potatoes for consistency, a handful of peas for a hint of sweetness, top notch spinach, a flick of nutmeg, a Parmesan rind because its magic and water, STOP.
I am happy to announce it was a happy reunion, a blob of sour cream and some nice bread made for good company. I ended up wishing I had made more but knew it was better that way.
A note about texture, its a personal thing I know. This is one of the few soups I like really smooth, so I give it a serious blast with the immersion blender. If you like things a little more textured I suggest removing half the soup into another bowl, blending that and then returning it to the pan with the rest of the unblended soup.
Last thing, I love this soup with some properly deep fried croutons.
4 nice servings
- good knob of butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium mild onion peeled and finely chopped
- 1 carrot peeled and finely diced
- 1 stick celery finely chopped
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and diced
- handful of frozen peas
- 600g spinach carefully washed, washed again and picked over
- 600ml water (the spinach will give up plenty of water too)
- a parmesan rind
- a flick of nutmeg
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large heavy based pan melt the butter and add the olive oil. Over a modest flame saute, not brown, the onion, carrot and celery until it is soft and floppy which should take about 10 mins.
Add the peas and potatoes to the pan, stir well. Add the spinach to the pan, it will look rather alot and seem uncontrollable for a few minutes. Gently turn the spinach, then cover the pan to allow the spinach to wilt down for a couple of minutes.
Add the water and parmesan rind to the pan, stir.
Bring the pan to a gentle boil and then reduce the heat and allow everything to simmer away for 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, remove the parmesan rind and using a immersion blender wizz everything into a gloriously smooth green gloop. Grate in a little nutmeg and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper
Serve in warm bowls with a blob of soured cream, a dribble of olive oil and some good bread.