Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Green Soup or Zuppe Verdi?

What's in a name? Green Soup or Zuppe Verdi? Really, I felt the latter was a bit pretentious, especially as this soup isn't traditionally Italian - so plain old Green Soup it is, even though I have to say that the name doesn't reflect at all how good this soup is. .

Green Soup

Green Soup

Green soup packs a punch, nutritionally speaking, but it’s also delicious, elegant and super simple to prepare.
A hint of chilli and lemon zest lifts the flavour; and the small amount of cream cheese and the avocado bring it all together.
Freezes well.
Serves 6

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 litre unsalted chicken or vegetable stock
3 cups frozen or fresh, shelled peas
1½ tsp salt or to taste & ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
180g chopped spinach leaves or 100g thawed, squeezed & chopped
1 medium avocado, peeled, stoned & chopped
1 Tbsp basil pesto or ¼ cup fresh chopped basil leaves
¼ cup cream cheese, chopped (50g)
Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon plus extra for garnish
Leaf tip of basil and finely sliced red chilli (optional)

Heat the oil in a large, heavy based saucepan over a low-medium heat. Sauté the onion until softened, then stir in the chilli and garlic and sauté a few minutes more.
Turn the heat to medium high, pour in the stock and the peas, salt and pepper and bring to simmer point. Stir in the spinach and simmer three-four minutes.
Transfer to a processor with the avocado, pesto or basil, cream cheese and zest. Puree very thoroughly to ensure the cream cheese is well blended into the mix. This may have to be done in two steps.
Return the pureed soup to the original saucepan and reheat to serve in warm bowls accompanied by hot crusty ciabatta or quesadilla .

Garnish with lemon zest ‘threads’, a leaf tip of basil and some finely sliced red chilli.

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