4 Bites: Global soups (Part 1)
Doesn't matter where in the world you live, Warren Elwin says, soup has universal appeal
This borscht is from the awesome Mamoushka cookbook, by the passionate Olia Hercules.
Make a stock by simmering 600g beef shin (oxtail, or short rib), 1 onion, 1 celery stalk, a handful of parsley stalks and 3 bay leaves in 2 litres of water for 1 hour, skimming as you go. Strain, then return stock and meat to heat. Add 1 large scrubbed potato and 1 scrubbed beetroot, cut into small dice or matchsticks, season generously and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a large knob of butter and gently fry 1 finely chopped onion, 1 chopped red capsicum, 2 grated carrots and 3 crushed garlic cloves for 5 minutes until soft. Stir in 2 grated tomatoes (discard skins) and a large spoonful of tomato paste and reduce further for another 5 minutes. Add all to broth with 1 can drained kidney beans and a quarter cabbage finely shredded and continue to simmer for 15 minutes until everything is tender and the meat is falling from the bone. Serve with dollops of sour cream (whisk with lemon zest and juice) and lots of chopped dill or parsley. Serves 6-8
Sopa azteca is traditionally made with a dried pasilla chilli pepper and epazote (a medicinally pungent Mexican herb). I’ve substituted with readily available chipotle peppers and fresh coriander. You could also use oregano, or lemon mint.
Finely chop 1 onion, the stems from a bunch of coriander, 3-5 garlic cloves and 1-3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Gently fry all in a glug of olive oil to form a soft fragrant paste. Add a 400g can chopped tomatoes, the same amount of hot chicken stock (approx 2 cups) and simmer gently to reduce and flavour, approx 10-15 minutes. Cool, blitz to just smooth, return to heat, add 1 thinly sliced chicken breast and reheat until chicken is cooked through. Season to taste. Spread corn chips on a baking tray, cover with grated colby cheese, and grill to melt. Distribute chips into soup bowls, add soup, garnish with sour cream, avocado chunks, and coriander leaves. Serve with lime wedges. Serves 4-6
Considered Portugal’s national dish, caldo verde can be found everywhere from the cafes and restaurants of Lisbon, to the humblest of country homes.
Heat 1 Tbsp each of olive oil and butter, then gently fry 1 finely chopped onion and 5-7 cloves of garlic crushed in 1 tsp sea salt. Stir in 2 large agria potatoes (peeled and cut into small dice) and cook 5 minutes. Add 5 cups hot chicken stock and 3 bay leaves, and simmer 15-20 minutes until potatoes are soft, mashing them lightly into the stock as you go. Add the finely shredded leaves from 1 large bunch of kale or cavolo nero and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Season and serve with slices of fried chorizo, a little lemon zest, a swirl of good olive oil and cornbread. Serves 4-6
Cullen skink is a classic Scottish soup that’s right up my kilt. I’ve Kiwi-fied it using kumara instead of potato. Use your favourite smoked fish.
Cut 1 whole (appox 450g) smoked fish into quarters, add to 2 cups whole milk and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, strain the milk, cool, flake and reserve the fish, discarding skin and bones. Finely slice 1 large onion, ½ a leek (white part) and 1 small fennel bulb (optional) and fry gently in 50g butter for 10 minutes until soft. Stir in 1 large peeled and grated kumara, 2 cups of hot fish stock and the milk and simmer gently until tender. Lightly mash the soup (or blitz and return half of it), add the smoked fish, season with pepper and lemon juice and serve with chopped chives. Serves 4-6