As is true of many food lovers who don’t spend as much time in sneakers as in slippers, my New Year’s resolution usually involves a pledge to eat lighter, healthier fare than I have been indulging in since Thanksgiving. The day after Christmas this year my sister-in-law made a lovely and flavorful soup that is quick, easy, satisfying and light enough to become a January staple. I think it’s called sour turnip soup, and though I usually dislike turnips, I love this. Here’s the recipe:
1/2 cup minced white onion
2 small or one large turnip, peeled and diced into half inch chunks
2 T. tomato paste
one 8 oz. bag of fresh spinach, chopped up (or you can use frozen)
one 48 oz box of stock (I use chicken stock)
juice of one lemon
1 t. your favorite hot sauce (I use harissa)
salt and pepper to taste
Saute the minced onion in olive oil until it is translucent and slightly browned. Stir in the chopped spinach, tomato paste and hot sauce and saute until the spinach starts wilting, then add salt, pepper and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer on the stove for 30 minutes to an hour. Remember to occasionally skim any red bubbly scum that comes to the surface before you stir again.
When the soup is about done, add the juice of a lemon, correct the salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Variations: My sister-in-law served this with kubba (beautiful balls of rice stuffed with meat and pine nuts. They are the Middle Eastern equivalent of the Italian arancini, but only about the size of golf balls). When my husband and I are avoiding starches, I saute some ground beef, turkey or lamb with my favorite middle eastern spices and add that to the pot near the end of cooking to round out the meal. When I do this I leave out the hot sauce because the spices in the meat flavor the soup. If you substitute vegetable stock it becomes vegetarian and also makes a good starter.
However you make it, it is perfect on a blustery, rainy day when you’re feeling a little too pudgy for your liking.