Many times when the temperatures drop, a simple rustic soup is all that is needed to feel good. Here is a hearty and filling soup, that is loaded with vegetables and thickened with semolina. It is highly nutritious and just perfect for a cold day.
Unlike many vegetable soups recipe, where all the vegetables are added at once to the pot, here they are added one by one, and sauteed slowly before the liquids are added. This method of cooking extracts lots of flavor from the vegetables, therefore there is no real need to use a stock in the soup and the vegetables flavors’ shine through.
This cooking process may seem long and tedious, but in fact all that is needed is to keep an eye on the pot, stir the vegetables with each addition, and let the slow cooking do its thing. The result is a rich and flavorful soup, with different textures and colors.
I’m sure you’ll love this soup, once you’ll try it.
A few notes:
* The semolina adds a nice texture and thickens the broth a bit. Other grains, such as quick oatmeal or uncooked rice can be used instead.
* Berbere is an aromatic and spicy Ethiopian spice mix. It contains numerous spices, including cardamom, fenugreek, cloves, ginger and more. Even the small amount mentioned here adds lots of flavor. If you can’t find it locally, it is available online.
* To turn this soup into an even heartier dish, add proteins, such as meatballs, thinly sliced raw meat or chicken, or cooked beans, towards the end of the cooking.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
5-6 Tbs light olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into medium cubes
1 Tbs salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 leek, white and light green part only, thinly sliced, well washed
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 white zucchini, cut into small cubes
5-6 white button mushrooms, legs removed (keep for stock), sliced
1 cup roughly chopped fresh cauliflower
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
2-3 bay leaves
1 tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp Berbere spice mix or Cayenne pepper (optional)
2 Tbs tomato paste
6 cups water
1/4 cup semolina
1. Mix 2 Tbs of the olive oil with the onion, salt and pepper in a large pot. Sautee over medium-high heat, mixing occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the leeks, mix and continue sautéing for 2 minutes, until it is soft.
2. Lower the heat to medium. Continue adding one type of vegetable at a time, and the rest of the olive oil, mixing and sautéing for 2-3 minutes with each addition.
3. Add the bay leaves, spices and tomato paste. Mix and sautee for 1-2 minutes. Add the water, mix again and bring to the boil. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Add the semolina, mix well and cook for 15 minutes longer, or until the vegetables are soft but still keep their shape and the soup thickens a bit. Serve with fresh bread on the side.