Soup

Lemony Swiss Chard Soup

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Sometimes all you need is a big hearty bowl of soup, especially during the winter, and this is the one to try. Well it's not exactly freezing in Doha, it's about 20 degrees Celsius, which is cold compared to the scorching 50+ degrees in the summer months!

A lovely friend of mine, Lana, introduced me to a supermarket which stocks some pretty fresh produce from the Levant region, so I've been quite lucky recently with finding fruits and veggies I wouldn't normally have over here. The other day I came across some beautiful Lebanese Swiss Chard stalks just waiting for me to scoop them up! I bought them and they sat in the vegetable bowl on my kitchen counter for a few days as I debated between making dolma (stuffing them with a herbed rice) or soup. I finally decided soup would be the best option given the minimal prep required, and so I tried to recreate a recipe an old colleague had told me about a while back which sounded delicious. I didn't have all the ingredients but decided to work with what I had at home, I replaced potatoes with butternut squash and green lentils with black-eye peas, also fresh coriander with coriander powder. So work with which ever ingredients are easier to get your hands on. Either way, you will have a lovely warming bowl of soup to savour!

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Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups black-eye peas, rinsed
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups swiss chard, sliced
  • 2 tsp sumac powder himalayan pink salt (sea salt is fine too) & black pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tbs ghee (can be replaced with coconut oil for Vegans)
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbs coriander powder

Method:

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot on medium - high heat. Then add the onions and sauté for a couple of minutes until they soften slightly. Stir in the black-eye peas and pour in the vegetable stock. Bring the broth to a boil and add the butternut squash, swiss chard. Season with sumac, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn the heat down and let simmer, covered, until the squash and peas are cooked, approximately 20-25 mins. While you're waiting for the soup to cook, heat the ghee in a small pan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and cook for about a minute, then stir in the coriander powder, and remove from heat once the aromas start being released, about 30/40 seconds. Once the peas and squash are nearly done, add the garlic and coriander,and cook for 5 minutes, or until the squash and peas have cooked through. Just before serving add the juice of one lemon, and taste to check seasoning, add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if needed. Cut up the left over lemon into wedges to serve on the side and enjoy!

Curried Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup

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I have started juicing a lot of vegetables lately and when I do, I save the pulp from the juicer, which is full of fibre, and try to reuse it. It seems like such a waste not to, and if you know me you will know that one thing I hate is wasting food. So the original recipe was made with carrot, fennel and ginger juice pulp but you can also make it with grated carrot, fennel and ginger too. I made this soup the other night for some friends and accompanied it with some delicious fresh Turkish bread from the shop up the road.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 medium butternut squash 2 tablespoons coconut oil 1/2 yellow onion (diced) 2 cloves garlic (crushed) 2 teaspoons curry powder 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon turmeric 2 carrots (grated) 1/2 fennel bulb (grated) 1 relatively large piece of ginger (grated) 1 litre vegetable stock (I use Marigold) 1/2 cup yellow split peas Chilli infused olive oil or olive oil & chilli flakes 6 stalks Tuscan kale/cavolo nero (de-stemmed) Sea salt & black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Peel and chop the butternut squash into small pieces, season with salt and pepper, place on a lined baking tray and pop in the oven for 20 mins. Get your largest soup pot and heat up the coconut oil in it. Then place the onion in the pot and let cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes, followed by the crushed garlic. Add all the spices and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the grated vegetables/juice pulp and leave to cook for about 5 minutes until the flavours infuse. Then add the vegetable stock to the pot and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and with a handheld blender, blend the soup into a nice smooth consistency. If you are using juice pulp I would recommend sieving out the soup into a large bowl after blending to avoid having pieces of ginger fibre in the smooth soup. Put the pot back on medium heat and add the yellow split peas, and salt and pepper to taste and then let cook for at least 25 mins. In the meantime de-stem the kale so that you are left with the leaves. Just before you serve the soup, put a pan on low heat and warm up the chilli infused olive oil/olive oil & chilli flakes and quickly cook the kale for approx. 2 minutes. Divide the soup up into bowls and place the kale on top. Enjoy!