Sunday, October 9, 2011

Spanish Potato and Green Olive Soup & a Review of 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I got about two-thirds of the way through reading 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker by Lynn Alley when it occurred to me that none of the soups had any meat, poultry or fish in them. I think that is the mark of a good vegetarian or vegan cookbook, when the recipes have such interesting ingredients and look so delicious you, your family, friends and guests won't notice that there is no meat.

50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker (Andrews McMeel 2011), is a little gem of a book, packed full of delectable vegetarian and vegan soup recipes in its 84 pages. Author Alley, has written five cookbooks, three of them on slow cooking, writes articles on food and wine for a variety of publications, and has taught cooking classes in both the US and the south of France. The recipes span the globe; Indian, Italian, Russian, South American, Middle Eastern, etc. Color photos accompany many of the soups and the book is spiral bound, making it easy to cook from. There are tips and tricks for using your slow cooker effectively and for maximizing the flavor of your soups with different techniques and recipes. A great little book for soup lovers and slow cooker fans.

I have a number of sticky tabs studding my book for recipes like, Avgolemono with Spinach and Dill, Black Bean Soup with Tomato, Cumin and Coconut Milk, Cabbage Dal with Chile and Toasted Coconut, Garnet Yam Soup with Coconut Cream, and Adzuki Bean-Miso Soup, and I am sure you will see some of them appear at Souper Sundays over the next few months. There is a Spiced Apple Pie Soup (recipe here) that sounds like a little bit of autumn in a bowl.

To "road test" the book, I chose the Spanish Potato and Green Olive Soup, because it sounded unusual and thinking that with the olives, potatoes and Manchego cheese cubes stirred in at the end, it would be like a tapas plate tucked into a soup.

Lynn Alley says, "This recipe was inspired by a soup served at a winery in Toro, Spain. Serve with a crusty loaf of French bread and perhaps a hearty red Tinta de Toro (the local name for the Tempranillo grape) from Toro."

Spanish Potato and Green Olive Soup
From "50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker" by Lynn Alley
(Serves 4 to 6)

4 Tbsp olive oil. divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 lbs small potatoes (I think I had about 2+ lbs total see notes/results below)
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme
6 cups water
1 1/2 cups stuffed green olives, sliced in half vertically
1 cup cubed Manchego or cheddar cheese

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Transfer the onion to a 7-quart slow cooker and add the potatoes, bay leaf and thyme. Cover and cook on LOW (without the water) for about 4 hours, or until the potatoes are tender.

Add the water and, using a fork or potato masher, smash the potatoes. If you prefer a smooth texture, you can use an immersion blender to puree them.

Stir in the olives and add the salt to taste. Continue cooking for 30 to 40 minutes longer, until the soup is once again hot.

To serve, divide the cheese into bowls, drizzle the remaining olive oil over it, then ladle in the soup and stir.

Warming, comforting and really good. The olives add a great tangy contrast the creamy chunks of potato and go well with the nuttiness of the Manchego (one of my very favorite cheeses). It's a hearty soup that even meat lovers would be satisfied with. (One thing--I did use more potatoes than called for--I didn't weigh the bag until I got home and there was a bit over 2 lbs in it. Since I was going out of town I didn't want to waste them so I threw them all in. It gave me plenty to break up and I end up using the immersion blender on part of the soup.) The grilled bread is a must (and if some extra slices of Manchego end up on the bread plate that's OK too.) ;-) Unique and something that I would definitely make again.

Disclosure Statement: A review copy of this cookbook was provided to me by the publisher, but as always, my thoughts, opinions and experiences cooking from it are all my own.

We have more luscious soups waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's take a look.

First up, Genevieve from Vanilla & Spice is back with a Curried Pumpkin Cauliflower Soup that adds a special touch to a vegetarian Thanksgiving feast (It's Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend). She says, "I realize that soup isn't traditionally served at Thanksgiving, but I think it makes a great addition to a vegetarian meal, for those who won't be eating turkey or ham. Besides, this curried pumpkin cauliflower soup is so good that all of your guests will be happy to eat it! They will also be surprised at how healthy it is when you tell them that this super creamy and delicious soup has no cream or other dairy products in it!"

My soup-loving friend Heather of girlichef, cooked another "50 Simple Soups" recipe I had my eye on. She says, "Another thing I love that plays a starring role when the weather starts to change is garlic. Really, I'm a garlic anytime kinda girl, but warm, concentrated garlicky soups and broths help me feel healthy and chase away little colds this time of year. Plus, they're just plain delicious. In my opinion, there is no such thing as too many varieties of Garlic Soup or Sopa de Ajo floating around out there. this version is definitely a keeper."

Busy Janet of The Taste Space has two soups to share this weekend. First up, this pretty Tomato Tarragon Soup. Janet says, "I spotted this simple soup with tomato and tarragon in Rebar for my first taste of tarragon. It was a wonderful introduction to the herby epitome of French cuisine. It has a regal taste, in that it is not so harsh as licorice. The light flavour is delicious. It pairs great with tomato in this soup which is zippy from the garlic and chili flakes. I also wanted to add further creaminess and bulk, so I added in white beans prior to pureeing it."

Janet also made this Split Pea Soup with Lemon and Spinach. She says, "The soup, as written, was bland. To zip it up, I added more fresh lemon juice and lots of fresh pepper. Now I was content, this soup was nice! Since soups always taste better after mellowing a few hours, I figured this was going to be a winner. Got to my potluck, opened my soup, warmed it up…. and did the taste test. Oh no! It went back to its bland self and I had a sorry soup to serve. I don’t really mind when recipes are lackluster, but when I serve it to guests, that’s when I cringe. But I swear, it tastes great fresh and a little more fresh lemon juice was probably what the leftovers needed. Moral of the story: Don’t leave home without your lemon."

Tigerfish from Teczcape-An Escape to Food made a healthy Bitter Melon Egg Drop Soup and says, "On the point of bitter - who likes bitter food? And what is your favorite bitter food? Mine happens to be bitter melon! I love it.Bitter food is good for us, and helps to speed up our metabolism. Green vegetables such as broccoli, and spinach can also be classified as bitter good. Well, broccoli and spinach do not taste bitter to me. Bitter melon might be the ultimate! I have cooked bitter melon soup many times and bitter melon soup (egg-drop version) quite frequently."

Shaheen of Allotment 2 Kitchen made this flavorful Squash and Black Bean Soup with Pickled Jalapeño and says, "Scotland being pretty much wet, grotty and overcast - all year - soup has been featuring on my menu almost every week, but on the plus side, they have all been varied and very different reflecting the seasons. ... I have to say the pickled Jalapeño peppers really makes a difference to the soup, so don't go omitting it. Its pickly warmth lifts the soup and makes you feel all warm and happy inside, well it did me (then again I am easily pleased)."

And finally, one special sandwich from Graziana at Erbe in Cucina, this homemade Vegan Burger with Aromatic Herbs. Special because it got her picky, meat-eating toddler to eat it. She says, "Well, my son looked at these burgers into the pan, found their appearance acceptable and asked to have one. He ate it quietly and said: uhm, good. I simply look at him and said: fine. Then I ran into another room, I closed the door and I began to exult in strict silence, shouting with joy in my mind."

Some wonderful creations to snuggle up with! Thanks to everyone who joined in this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click the Super Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details.

***Souper Sundays Turns 3 Next Week!***

Souper Sundays is 3-years old next week! It's hard to believe that it has already been three whole years of round ups--that's over 150 visits to the Souper Sundays kitchen! My thanks to everyone for sharing your soups, salads, and sandwiches with me whether you are a long-timer or a newbie.

For the Souperversary celebration next week I'll be posting my top soups of the past year (it's tradition). ;-) I would love to have you join the party with a soup, salad, or sandwich entry. (One note: I'll be blogging Souper Sundays from Portland next week as it is my mom's 80th Birthday so the timing may be a bit off, but please join in the celebration!)

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. What positively delicious looking soups! I am a confirmed carnivore but would love a bowl of any of the soups mentioned in your post. Well done & thanks for sharing!

  2. Mmmmm...potato and green olive sounds delicious.

  3. Potatoes and green olives sounded wonderful, but that cheese just put it over the top. I will be making this one as soon as our latest heat wave abates.

  4. Happy Birthday to your mom! and happy "soupversary"!

  5. Wow...3 years of souper sundays! That's really wonderful. So fun to imagine how many wonderful soups you've made in the past 3 years. I bet you've really put a dent in your "to make" pile :)

    I love the combination of ingredients in your soup: olives, potatoes, and manchego (one of my favorites too). It sounds like a unique and comforting blend of ingredients.

    Happy birthday to your Mom! I'm so glad that you'll get to spend her special day with her. I bet Portland will be beautiful this time of year. Have a safe flight and a wonderful visit.

  6. Happy early 3 year anniversary! But that cookbook, wowzers, sounds great. :)

  7. great round-up... and happy birthday to your mother!

  8. Wow - I really want to try that. Green olives and manchego cheese would make a great, and yet really unusual addition to a soup. Sounds like a great book.
    Sue xo

  9. that sounds like one awesome cookbook that I need to invest in! I'm sure when things start to get crazy in lab, I'll really want a good healthy veg soup to come home to. I love the briny olive/salty cheese/carby potato combo good.

  10. Thaks so much for hosting.

    I have to say that book looks very good and woudl encourage me to use my slow cooker a lot more. I will have to keep my beady eyes for it here.

  11. We were totally vibin' yesterday, weren't we ;) Yes, this soup was one I marked to try, as well...I'm so happy that you made it, so I can eat it with my eyes. It sounds awesome :D Have a great time in Portland and Happy Birthday to your mom- 80 rocks! And 3 years...that's amazing!

  12. Mmm I like the sounds of all of the soups you bookmarked from that cookbook - I hope to see some of the recipes on here soon! Too bad I don't have a slow cooker though..

  13. green olive and potato soup? Oh Yum!
    can't wait to try this one!

  14. The olives in this one really caught my attention. My husband loves green olives, but I never would have thought to add them to soup. It sounds great though!

  15. I just wanted to add a comment here to mention thanks for you very nice ideas. Blogs are troublesome to run and time consuming thus I appreciate when I see well written material. Your time isn’t going to waste with your posts. Thanks so much and stick with it No doubt you will definitely reach your goals! have a great day!


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