Delicious, easy, satisfying. Three words that are bound to turn anyone off. I have been extolling the virtues of a good vegetablish soup for many years and still no one is listening and I have not been served a soup starter at any of my friend’s dinner parties. I for one used to serve them regularly until I broke a soup plate and am now left with just 5, so either I pretend not to like soup, or eat out of a bowl or don’t serve soup. It’s a sad fact.
I think no one wants to make stock and everyone, except the most silly, knows that for a good soup, you just cannot use stock cubes. It’s simply not done! (I think I’ve been watching too many Downton Abbeys), so if your hurdle to a good soup is good stock, check out my the last post; Taking Stock and Making It.
Spinach & Herb Soup
makes 800ml, enough for 4 starter portions or 2 mains
- 800ml chicken stock
- 100g young leeks, finely diced
- 50g onion, finely diced
- 100g spinach (either frozen or blanched and squeezed)
- 30g curly parsley with stalk, chopped
- 15g cilantro with stalk, chopped
- 25g butter
- 40g potato, peeled
- 50g crème fraîche
- about 10g beurre manié (5g flour & 5g butter mixed together)
Melt the butter in a pot and fry the diced onion for about 5 minutes, until translucent, but not brown. Add the leek and continue to fry at low heat for another 3 minutes, taking care not to burn the leek. Add the spinach and just fry for a minute, then pour in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and add the herbs and grate in the potato. You need to grate the potato straight into the pot, or it will turn brown. Simmer for 5 minutes, then leave to cool a little.
Blend about ¾ of the soup and mix it back into the unblended ¼. Bring back to a simmer.
While the soup is simmering, stir the crème fraiche to smooth it out and add two or three tablespoons of hot soup to temper the cream and prevent it from curdling. Add the tempered crème fraîche to the soup, slowly add beurre manié until you have reached your desired soup consistency and serve.
Of course that whole thing would look much better with a dollop of crème fraîche and a single chive or chervil leaf in the middle of the plate, but I was too hungry.