One thing I have learned about Turks is their ability to make something out of nothing. Especially when it comes to food. And to make this ‘something’ go a long way.
Yesterday I was at our local pazar (market) and enquired on the price of some deliciously green looking spinach, to be told that it was 3TL per kilo. 3TL?! So, of course, I bought a kilo! (3TL is around AUD$1.50)
After coming home I had to figure out what I was going to do with 1kg of spinach. So I consulted my favorite new cookbook by Turkish chef Refika Birgul. And what jumped out at me – spinach soup!
This soup is surprisingly tasty, much more so that I even thought it would be, given the simple ingredients. It’s very soupy, not at all thick (which I usually prefer, but not this time) so adjust the water amounts as you see fit. And the chickpeas and halloumi cheese give it a great added textural dimension.
All up this huge pot of soup cost me about 15TL to make and I will be enjoying it for dayssss! So, happy cooking and afiyet olsun!
[By the way, even though this recipe is from Refika’s book Cooking New Istanbul Style, it is also on her website (free) and you can see the link by clicking here]
- ½ kilo of spinach
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp of flour
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 cup chicken stock (Refika recommends a bouillon cube or chicken stock, I used chicken but would have preferred vegetable)
- 1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
- Salt (to season)
- 1 can of chickpeas (400g)
- Halloumi cheese (to serve)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Add olive oil to a very large pot. Add the onions and garlic and sauté a little until they start to change color.
- Add the washed spinach leaves to the pot and continue to sauté. (roughly break them into 2-3 pieces using your hands)
- As the spinach leaves start to change color, add 5 cups of boiling water and 1 cup of chicken stock. Boil for 10 minutes.
- While the spinach is boiling, add the butter and flour to a small pan. Slightly burn the flour, and then pour the flour mixture into the pot. Stir through and let the mixture boil for another 2-3 minutes.
- Using a hand blender, mix the soup until it is smooth.
- Add the chickpeas to the soup and stir through (you can reheat slightly if you like). Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt.
- When ready to serve, heat a little butter in a pan and grill cubes of halloumi. Add it to the top of the soup bowls and serve.