- Food & Drink
Winter is drawing near. It’s taken its time to get here, inching its way in while our attention was giddily caught by turning leaves and laden hedgerows. But now, when I walk out of my front door, the first thing I do I shiver. The blue skies and patches of sunlight are swindles. As soon as I step into the shadows the cold tugs at my clothes, trying to work its way past the light jacket and cotton top I thought would be enough for such a warm looking day.
My solution to all of this is, of course, thick socks and soup. Nothing seems so bad when your feet are radiating heat and you have a bowl of steaming hot liquid to wrap your soon-to-be chill-blained fingers around. This soup has the further benefit of being made from spinach, which, due to watching a lot of Popeye as a child, is fixed in my mind as the healthiest vegetable ever to sit and rot in the bottom of my fridge.
But, as everyone knows, if something is good for you then it can’t taste nice – it’s a rule. So coming up with ways to make spinach delicious as well as healthy is a challenge I regularly set myself and this fragrant soup is cheeringly tasty.
Spinach and coconut soup
Olive oil, for frying
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stick lemongrass
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 green chilli, finely chopped
250g potato, peeled and finely chopped
200g spinach leaves
200ml coconut milk
400ml hot vegetable stock
Single cream, to serve
1 Cover the bottom of a medium saucepan with a thin layer of olive oil and place over a low heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cover with a layer of greaseproof paper. Cover with the pan lid and gently cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until softened but not coloured.
2 Hit the lemongrass stick with a pestle or the end of a rolling pin until it’s bruised and bashed about a bit. Add to the onions with the garlic, chilli and potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the spinach and stir until it has started to wilt.
3 Add the coconut milk and vegetable stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 15–20 minutes, until the potato is tender. Fish out the lemongrass and either ladle the soup into a blender and blitz until smooth or use a handheld blender in the pan. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
4 Ladle into 2 warm bowls and swirl a little cream over the top to serve.