I’ve been fighting off yet another flu, straining under the weight of several deadlines, and wondering when London winter will finally start yielding to spring. My guess is any day now. When things get heavy, though, and I feel like I need something gentle, soothing, and purifying, it’s time to make one of my favourite soups. This one is like a magic potion: the slices of potato will strike all your comfort chimes while the light almost misolike broth will refresh and hydrate you. The big floating spinach leaves add an extra kick to boost your immunity – and anyway, dark leafy things always make me feel gloriously self-righteous. But in a zen sort of way. You know what I mean. You can eat it with a spoon if you like, or slurp straight from the bowl and keep the spoon for the last few bits of fragrant potato and spinach for gulping down at the end.
Spinach and potato soup
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
6 potatoes, peeled, halved and sliced
a small bag of spinach or kale, washed and roughly torn
1 -2 tablespoons of olive oil
6 cups of vegetable stock (or boiling water and some bouillon or miso)
soya sauce (or tamari)
1. Saute the onions lightly in the olive oil. Don’t burn them or let them go dark – just clear is fine. As they start softening, throw in the garlic. Stir it a lot – garlic burns more easily than onion.
2. Add potatoes, and saute for a couple of minutes before adding the water or stock. Let it all simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes or so, just til the potatoes are soft. Season with salt, pepper and soy sauce.
3. Add the spinach or kale, and let it simmer for a minute or two before you ladle it into bowls, making sure to dish out a pleasing balance of broth, potatoes and leaves. Each bowl might need a little more soya sauce or tamari to taste.
There are so many variations on this soup; none of the quantities are definitive. Still, I prefer keeping it simple, unless I have some leftover rice, which I might stir in halfway through cooking. Or leftover risotto, which I’d heat up and spoon into the bottom of each bowl as a rich little prize for under the broth.