The sight of a billowing bag of spinach at the local shop here in the Black Mountains actually set my heart racing. I’d been craving spinach and I’ve just made this thick, voluptuous soup with it, adding peas for viscosity, potato for thickness and leeks for their gentle onion flavor. I’ll almost certainly serve it for lunch with a separately cooked soft-boiled egg per portion and can’t wait to see the soft yellow yolk spurting across the verdant bowlful. Another good accompaniment would be anchovies smashed onto toast.
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 35 min
splash vegetable oil
200g frozen peas
2 chicken (or vegetable) stock cubes
Quarter the leeks lengthways, holding by the root end. Holding the leek together, finely slice across to make small pieces. Agitate in cold water and drain. Melt the butter in the oil in a spacious, lidded pan, stir in the leeks with a generous pinch salt. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes, adjusting the heat so it sweats rather than crisps. Meanwhile, peel, dice and rinse the potato. Stir the potato into the softening leeks, cover again and cook for further few minutes while you boil the kettle and dissolve the stock cubes in 1.3 litres water. Wash and drain the spinach. Add the stock to the pot, semi-cover the pan and bring the liquid to simmer. Partially cover the pan, cook for 5 minutes then add the peas and cook uncovered for a further 5 minutes or until potatoes and peas are tender. Squash the spinach into the pan and simmer for a few minutes until wilted and soft. Liquidize in batches for a couple of minutes a batch – peas are surprisingly fibrous, return to a clean pan. Adjust the seasoning with salt (unlikely if, like me, you made it with stock cubes) and nutmeg. Serve now or later with or without a dollop of cream and/or a soft-poached egg.