We are lucky enough to have an allotment and the bonus of this is we have lots and lots of lovely organic vegetables arriving in the kitchen on a regular basis, four that arrived in abundance this week were spinach, onions, potatoes, and courgettes.
Spinach is going to be the ‘jewel in the crown’ of this soup, and a jewel it really is, a rich glossy green Emerald; Spinach is rated among the world’s healthiest vegetables, coming out top in lists regarding nutrient richness. It is rich in vitamins and minerals and concentrated in health-promoting phytonutrients such as carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin) and flavonoids to provide you with powerful antioxidant protection.
Furthermore, it has the added benefit of being low in fat and hearty enough to fill hungry stomachs, so with all that goodness and protection for your family bundled up inside this yummy little vegetable how can you not make this great soup. It has been a favorite of ours for years, ideal for busy parents as it really is a very quick meal and you will have the comforting knowledge of how good it is for the whole family – and an added bonus is that it freezes beautifully.
The spinach may be our star but the other vegetables are just as important so my advice would be to definitely buy organic vegetables, there is an enormous difference between the taste of those slightly chilled, plastic bags of onions on the supermarket shelves in comparison with the glorious strings of fresh sweet onions that we grow ourselves.
And since we have an allotment there is not only the bags and bags of potatoes in the shed that will keep us going throughout the year but also a wonderful glut of big fat glossy courgettes to devour and their addition in this soup gives a more pronounced depth to the overall taste. 4 vegetables, 1 big pot of nutrient-rich soup, and 1 healthy family meal – let’s get started!
- 2 tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
- 1 medium Organic Onion
- 2 large Organic Courgettes
- 1 medium/large Organic Potato
- 350g Organic Spinach or 3–4 blocks of Frozen Organic Spinach
- 2 pints of Vegetable or Chicken Stock
- 1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 tablespoon of Dried Parsley)
- 1/4 pint of Double Cream (optional)
- Freshly Cracked Black Pepper and Sea Salt
The great thing about this soup is that it’s fuss-free, you only have to roughly chop the vegetables because we’re going to blitz everything later on to make a smooth soup and even easier all you have to do with the spinach is rinse it. Okay, easy peasy luscious soup coming up.
- If you are using the fresh Spinach rinse it thoroughly and leave it to drain, if you’re using the frozen Spinach leave to defrost for about 20 minutes before you start the soup. Although I have been known to make this in a hurry and zap it briefly in the microwave so that it just begins to thaw and then pop it straight into the pan.
- In a large pan gently warm the two tablespoons of vegetable oil.
- Roughly chop the onion, courgettes, and potato and add to the pan, saute gently for 4-5 minutes. Note: If you want a slightly thicker soup just add more potato to the recipe.
- While the vegetables are cooking heat the water for the stock, you can use fresh vegetable/chicken stock or a stock cube for this dish, whatever you have to hand, but please don’t use chicken stock in any format, if you’re serving this to a vegetarian.
- To the pan add the spinach, the dried or fresh chopped parsley, stir gently for a minute, and then add the 2 pints of stock and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Set the timer if you’re anything like me and tend to go off to do a million and one other things while it’s finishing.
- At this point, it should look a bit like green pond water
- After 20 minutes turn the heat off and leave the soup to cool slightly before blending.
- I have found that the easiest way to finish this soup is to use a hand held blender, if you’re in the UK I highly recommend the Braun 400 watt Blender which I have had for many many years, I love the simplicity of the design, it’s easy to clean, and touch wood never fails me, I also think it’s rather fun to use – but that just might be me.
- The reason for letting the soup cool is more to do with safety than anything else, basically you don’t want to get burnt by any splashes of boiling hot soup, or if you place hot soup into a larger blender/food processor the heat and steam tends to build up as it’s blitz and the lid maybe forced off not only sending boiling hot soup over you but making a dreadful mess of the kitchen, whichever way you’re doing this be careful.
- So when it’s cooler blitz the contents in a blender or put the handheld blender into the pan, slightly tilting the pan (not towards you) so that the vegetables will all slide towards the blades of the blender, now blitz until the soup is smooth or to the consistency that you prefer.
- Taste the soup and season with freshly ground Black Pepper and Sea Salt to taste.
- Now the nice thing about this soup is it’s easy to alter if you think the soup is too thin, add some more spinach, cook for another 10 mins and blitz, if you think the soup is too thick then add a bit more stock or hot water.
- Always remember to taste and re-season after each amendment.
- Last but not least just before you serve this you could add the 1/4 pint of double cream and warm it through, or just a swirl of cream on top of the bowl of soup to enhance its appearance – today I’m leaving it out and adding some freshly baked hot croutons instead.