This soup/stew smacks of health. I’ve called it “Friday stew” because I basically threw in all the vegetables we had left in the fridge. Thanks to the spinach, it ended up a bright-ish green color. But don’t let that turn you off: it tastes delicious, especially with some plain yogurt (or cheese, if you’re F) stirred in.
Spiced with REWE’s Inseln der Südsee (a mixture of Chinese five-spice, chilies, ginger, cumin, coriander, green pepper grounds, lemon zest, and powdered garlic) — a gift from Maya — the soup acquires a soft spiciness with a slight tang. A squeeze of lemon at the end brightens it all up.
Feel free to make this with any combination of vegetables you have lying around. You can blend it or not; the blended texture is pleasantly thick and reminiscent of dal, and tastes great cold or reheated on the second and third days.
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Five-Spice Spinach & Vegetable Stew, aka “Friday Stew” (makes enough to serve 5-7 people generously)
- 2-4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2-4 tbsp Inseln der Südsee OR roughly:
- 20% Chinese 5 Spice
- 5-10% chili powder or red pepper flakes
- 5-10% ground coriander
- 5-10% ground cumin
- to taste: powdered ginger, garlic powder, salt, pepper
- 4 carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
- 1 potato, peeled & roughly shopped
- 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 kg frozen spinach
- 1 cup brown rice
- juice of 1 lemon
- for serving: plain yogurt
- In a medium pot, boil the rice in 3-4 cups of water until it is tender, 20-40 minutes.
- In a big pot or Dutch oven, sauté the onions and garlic over medium-high heat until they begin to soften. Add the spices, stir, and cook a few more minutes.
- Add the carrots, potato, and celery to the pot, stir and let cook for a few minutes.
- Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, then let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the spinach and simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are soft.
- Take the pot off the heat and puree everything using an immersion blender. If you’re using a regular blender, puree the soup in batches. Alternately, leave it chunky!
- A few minutes before serving, stir the rice and lemon juice into the soup. Serve with a dollop or two of yogurt on top.