I love spicy soup and always look for ways to use leftovers. Recently I combined leftover spinach, boxed chicken stock, and a few other ingredients, with the help of my trusty immersion blender. The result, this curried spinach soup, was delicious with leftover roasted chicken and jasmine rice. It would also go well with plain fish too, or as the first part of an East Asian-style dinner.
You can make the soup vegetarian or dairy-free too. For vegetarian soup, simply substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth. The first time I made it, I added milk and served it with a dollop of sour cream on top. You could omit both of those for a dairy-free version.
The amounts of onion, potato, onion, spinach and even chicken stock are approximate. What size is a medium onion or potato? Don’t sweat it – bigger than a golf ball and smaller than a grapefruit will do. If you have a bit more or less spinach – or chicken/vegetable stock – the variation in taste and texture will be minimal.
Note on curry: Technically curry is not one , but a blend of several spices – and each curry is different. I happen to have both the mild and hot versions of Sharwood’s curry, so I used half of each. The result was pleasing. Check the label of your curry and taste it in something mild (maybe mixed into plain cooked potato or yogurt), so that you’ll know how spicy it will be. I did not think the soup needs salt or pepper if your curry is flavorful.
Curried Spinach Soup
Servings – 2 bowls or 3 smaller cups. Total cost – $6.73 + optional milk/sour cream
Milk and sour cream are optional – and not pictured.
- 2 tablespoons olive or other oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 medium red, Yukon gold, or similar “boiling” potato (not russet or idaho)
- 1 teaspoon curry
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 6 ounces (3 cups tightly packed) spinach I prefer baby spinach. If you use the larger leaves, pick off and throw away the largest and toughest stems. Rinse and drain the spinach, either by shaking if off or in colander or strainer.
- 2 cups chicken stock (broth without pieces of meat or vegetables.) Canned stock is OK too, though it sometimes has a “tinny” taste, so I prefer fresh or boxed broth. Compare brands, especially for sodium (salt) content. I’m not a big fan of boullion cubes because they tend to be laden with spices and additives that change the taste of the soup and they are often high in sodium. If you use stock frequently, you can use the 32 ounce box pictured. However, if you would not normally use the rest of the box (2 cups) in a week, try to find smaller boxes. Whole Foods sells 3-8.75 ounce boxes packed together for about $2. It would be fine to use 2 of those small boxes, containing slightly over 16 ounces/2 cups.
- Optional: 1/2 cup milk for blending into finished soup and a tablespoon of sour cream or yogurt as topping.
- Cutting board
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cup for liquids
- Measuring cup for solids (spinach) – optional
- Large pan
- Spoon for stirring
- Immersion (or regular) blender
- Chop potato and onion into “smallish” pieces. (Wash potato, but no need to peel it. Keep the vitamins and save the effort of peeling.) No worries if pieces aren’t too small. They’ll all be blended up anyway.
- Pre-heat the oil and then sauté the onion and potato pieces, stirring frequently, for about 5-8 minutes, until they are soft.
- Add the teaspoon of curry (see note above about gauging spiciness of curry powder) and cook for about 1 minute, stirring until the curry powder is absorbed into the onion and potato. Adding the curry now and cooking it for a short time instead of adding it after the liquid increases its fragrance.
- Add the 2 tablespoons of flour and continue to cook, stirring/mashing constantly on low-medium heat for about 3 minutes. The flour gets cooked and absorbed and the mixer gets thick. The flour thickens the soup slightly, but has no taste as long as it is cooked for a few minutes before you add liquid.
- Add the spinach
and stir, so that it cooks down. With the small amount of water left on the spinach from rinsing, the leaves will wilt down in just a few minutes.
- Slowly (about 1/2 cup at a time) add the chicken stock to the mixture, stirring so that the onion/potato/curry/flour is dispersed in the liquid. if it clumps, stop adding liquid for a moment and stir until everything is mixed well together. After each 1/2 cup, bring the mixture to a boil, then add next 1/2 cup and bring it back to a boil.
- Cook the soup at a simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
- Cool for 10 minutes (until steam stops) and blend it in batches of about 1/2 to 3/4 cup. The immersion blender (see picture) is a great tool and blends this soup quicky and easily.
A regular blender works too – it’s just more hassle to clean.
- At this point, the soup can be refrigerated and reheated the next day, frozen and defrosted for future use, or eaten right away.
- When you are ready to heat, bring soup back to a simmer and you can add the optional 1/2 cup of milk. So that the milk does not curdle, do not allow soup to boil after you add the milk.