There is a huge crop of spinach in the garden.
Now, I love spinach. Always have done. One of my ultimate comforts dishes is wholemeal toast topped with steamed, chopped spinach and a soft poached egg. Can’t beat it, if you ask me, but the kids are a little more fussy. Neither of them are particularly keen on leafy greens and it’s something of a challenge to me, especially when it grows so well in the garden, to find ways to tempt them. Chopped up in quiche is a good one, and I once discussed this with a community children’s nurse who said she used to mash it into potato and call it mint choc chip mash. Can’t recall what she used for the ‘choc’ part, though.
One real winner though, is soup, and the way I like my spinach soup is with an oriental-ish twist, using a little chilli (for warmth rather than fiery heat) and coconut milk. Blending the lovely green stalks and leaves with these 2 ingredients takes the edge of the ‘spinachy-ness’ – that admittedly metallic tang that you can get with it – and adds real depth and flavour. It is also extremely easy and I love the simplicity of it. It is one of my favourite things to eat when it’s a bit miserable outside.
Yesterday seemed to be a pretty good day for soup – after the heat of the weekend, the weather seemed to be mirroring the collective post-Olympic closing ceremony slump, with persistent drizzle, and I felt like cooking something nourishing – not to mention to use up the spinach.
Spinach & Coconut Soup
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 large (i.e. mild) red chilli
500g spinach, washed, (If using big leaves with established stalks, separate stalks and leaves, slice stalks into manageable lengths, roughly shred the leaves – you won’t need to do this if you use baby spinach or the smaller leaves you tend to get pre-packed in supermarkets)
400ml tin of light coconut milk
500ml vegetable stock (I use marigold bouillon powder)
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and add the onion and garlic. Fry on a gentle heat for a few minutes till starting to soften. While this is happening, and deseed the chilli if you want to reduce the heat further, and finely chop. When the onion and garlic is softened, add the spinach stalks and chilli, and cook, stirring every so often for 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and stock, bring to the boil, and then add in the spinach leaves. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for a few minutes till the stalks are tender and the leaves have wilted.
Use a stick blender (or whatever you use for such things) to whizz the soup up into a beautiful green concoction.
I'm linking up to the August No Croutons required challenge - soup or salad using coconut, and hosted by Jac at Tinned Tomatoes