Being the warm weather lover that I am, there is not much to cheer about now that the temperatures are dropping and the days are getting shorter. However, one wonderful exception is the return of warm, hearty, comforting soups! I threw this one together with fresh spinach and mint from the market and it was delicious...especially since we are both spinach lovers! A couple of green chilies and the additional (and optional) red pepper flakes stirred in at the end provided just a note of heat, while the crème fraîche gave it just a bit of tang. We loved the beautiful green color and knowing that we were getting all those great vitamins and antioxidants from the spinach. In other words...warm, spicy, visually appealing and healthy...what's not to love?
SPINACH, MINT & CHILI SOUP
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small green chillies (Indian type), chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups vegetable broth
650 grams (about 22 ounces) fresh spinach, washed and torn
Handful of mint, washed and chopped
Salt, to taste (optional)
Crème fraîche, for finishing
Red pepper flakes, for finishing (optional)
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion, garlic and green chillies and saute until the onion is translucent.
2. Add the potatoes and stir well. Saute until the potatoes just begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
3. Pour in the vegetable broth and increase the heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat slightly, cover and simmer until the potatoes are cooked.
4. Add the spinach and mint and simmer for just a couple of minutes (any more than that and you risk losing the nutrients from the spinach).
5. Puree in batches in a blender or food processor. Return to the pot and add salt to taste, if you feel it is necessary.
6. Serve with crème fraîche and red pepper flakes swirled in.