Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ottolenghi's Herb, Chard, and Feta Soup for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays and IHCC

I have two stunning Yottam Ottolenghi books, Plenty and Jerusalem, sitting on my table and a plethora of recipes tagged to make as we start cooking with him for the next six months at I Heart Cooking Clubs beginning next week. I have formed a habit of welcoming in our new IHCC chefs with a bowl of soup. I figure if a chef and I bond with a great soup, we will continue to get along well. ;-) Not that I doubt Ottolenghi and I will cook brilliantly together based on the recipes I have marked so far and his Green Couscous recipe, the first Ottolenghi recipe I tried a while back. 

There are plenty of soup recipes in both of the cookbooks, but it was this recipe for Herb, Chard, and Feta Soup I pulled from Bon Appétit that I had to make first. Although referred to as a winter soup in the magazine, with all the green, I think it leans into spring nicely and the chard, herbs and feta could all be picked up at my local farmers market. 

Herb, Chard, and Feta Soup 
Yotam Ottolenghi via Bon Appétit , January 2012
(Makes 4 Servings)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lb Swiss chard leaves (center ribs & stems removed) or spinach, coarsely chopped (about 10 cups)
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon dried mint
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 ounces plain Greek-style yogurt (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup mixed chopped herbs (such as parsley, cilantro, and mint), divided
4 ounces feta, crumbled, divided
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh lemon juice (optional)
olive oil (optional)
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until translucent and soft (do not brown), 7–8 minutes. Stir in chard, broth, parsley, cilantro, fresh and dried mint, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chard is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth. Return to pan. (Do Ahead: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm soup before continuing.)

To garnish and serve:
Place 1/3 of yogurt in a medium bowl. Add 1/2 cup warm soup; whisk until smooth. Repeat process twice more, adding a total of 1 cup more soup. Whisk yogurt mixture into soup in saucepan. Stir 1/4 cup herbs and half of feta into soup. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, if desired.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with remaining 1/4 cup herbs and 2 oz. feta. Drizzle with oil, if desired.

Notes/Results: This is a really good soup--full of glorious green herby flavor and quick and easy to make. The yogurt, lemon and feta keep the flavors balanced and prevent it from being too green tasting. Go as fresh as you can here--the herbs and mixed (rainbow and Swiss) chard I used were all locally grown and it shows in the soup's taste. The smallish bunch of chard I bought only yielded about 8 cups with the stems and centers pulled off so I added about 3 1/2 cups of baby spinach to make sure I had enough greens. I found that between the broth (I used "no chicken" base in water) yogurt and feta, (locally made from Naked Cow Dairy and delicious), and the lemon juice, no extra salt was needed. 

This is the kind of soup that you feed your body and it sighs in relief and tells you it is willing to overlook the 3/4-bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs and other junk that you consumed this weekend. ;-) A small bowl of this soup would be an excellent way to start a nice dinner, a larger bowl with some fresh bread is satisfying as a meal. A definite make-again soup for me and a great way to start off my IHCC Ottolenghi journey. 

Starting April 1 and continuing through the end of September, I Heart Cooking Clubs is cooking the recipes of Yotam Ottolenghi. Join us every week for a different fun theme or drop by whenever you want to explore the recipes of an amazing chef with a wonderful group of people in a positive environment. 

I'm posting a day early for IHCC to coincide with Souper Sundays but you'll be able to check out how everyone says welcome or Shalom Yotam Ottolenghi! by going to the post this week and following the links.

Easter Sunday is a little quiet in the Souper Sundays kitchen but we have three lovely soups waiting--let's take a look.

Janet of The Taste Space kicks us off with this nourishing bowl of Indian Sprouted Mung Bean Stew with Greens and says, "I was drawn to this Indian mung bean stew for its simplicity but I knew it would not be lackluster. Instead of the typical red lentil curries I adore, this is a brothy soup. A flavourful broth is created from fennel, cumin and ginger. Indian cooking doesn’t always have to be thick curries. Carrots and collards add colour and mung beans make this filling. Lemon juice brightens it up. The curry powder is added as a finishing spice, at the end of cooking, for a different twist to the soup.

A new face to welcome to Souper Sundays is Brittany of Brittany Cooks, joining in with this hearty Cheesy Green Chile Potato Chowder. She says, "Since it's snowing here in Cincinnati (is it spring yet??), I thought it would be okay to share another soup recipe before things start to warm up. The soup alone is flavorful and filling, but adding the toppings at the end is what makes it awesome! If you're still bundled up and scraping ice and snow off your car like me (sigh), I think a hearty bowl of this soup will help you get through the last bits of winter. If you're enjoying warmth and sunshine, know that I am incredibly jealous!" Welcome Brittany!

Tigerfish of Teczcape - An Escape to Food heads to Tuscany with her dish saying, "This Tuscan Bean Soup recipe is adapted from and I enjoyed every part of it. I have actually cooked it many times, more frequently in the winter months of December, January and February when such a hearty and wholesome soup is called for. That said, it is suitable anytime if you are a "soup" person, like me. ... This soup is a one-pot, rightfully balanced with vegetables, beans (proteins) and carbs (potatoes). Thick and chunky but without the use of any cream!"

Thanks to Janet, Brittany and Tigerfish for joining in this week. If you have a soup--or salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details.

Happy Easter Sunday and have a happy, healthy week!


  1. Couscous & ConsciousnessMarch 31, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    Great soup, and a lovely way to both usher in spring and the beginning of our journey with Ottolenghi. Love the herbaceousness, infused with the salty tang of lemons, yoghurt & feta.

  2. This soup sounds so refreshing in flavor! I don't doubt that it would cure any amount of sugar overdose.

  3. all of these look great!

  4. That is a lovely looking soup! With all the ingredients that went into it, sounds so flavourful! A perfect start, fresh and green, with Ottolenghi! Great choice!

  5. So it is easy being green. ;)

  6. This is a soup that is begging to be made. While I really like kale, chard is my very favorite green. I feel like it has an incredible amount of flavor. I can imagine how delicious this is with a sprinkle of feta on top.

  7. So, I saw this new club on someone else's site too. Do you have to participate every week? I have "Plenty" but have never utilized it to its full potential!

  8. Hey Debra,

    We have been going for several years now--switching out chefs every six months. We have weekly themes but you can join in whenever you want to--no pressure to do it every week. I'll shoot you an email--hope you join in--it's lots of fun!

  9. Boy, at this time of year, I am always starved for something really green and fresh tasting ... this looks like it would really hit the spot! ...

  10. It's only fitting that you welcome in IHCC with a bowl of soup! Yesterday on a 6 hour long car ride, I looked thru a cookbook I have called "the whole world loves chicken soup" and tagged a bunch of recipes. Maybe I can join you again for Souper Sunday soon.

  11. I love this soup! It is just the most amazing combination of flavours, & the colour, just wonderful. Very much looking forward to the Ottolenghi party!


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