Spinach Soup with Chilli Gnocchi

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

  • About

Gnocchi can be light and, when spiced with hot chilli and fresh coriander, make a very Mediterranean addition to this deeply green fresh - yet satisfying - soup.

There is a view that if you include eggs in gnocchi they will go rubbery. However, the addition of just one size-3 egg does nothing but lighten the dumplings a fraction and ensures that the potato-and-flour base does not sog into the cooking water.

This is a recipe in which frozen spinach works if fresh is unobtainable. Onions can be substituted for shallots.

Ingredients

  • 675 g/ lb potatoes
  • 4 hot fresh red chillies
  • handful of coriander leaves
  • 1/4 nutmeg
  • 200 g/7 oz self-raising flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 size-3 egg
  • 250 g/ oz shallots
  • 450 g/1 lb spinach leaves or defrosted frozen leaf spinach
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.1 litres/2 pt chicken stock
  • salt and pepper

Method

Preparation

Peel the potatoes, cut them into large chunks and cook in a large pan of boiling salted water until just tender. Drain, return to the pan and shake over a low heat to dry off excess moisture.

Destalk, deseed and shred the chillies and add to the potatoes. Destalk and chop the coriander leaves and add these. Season with a little grated nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Mash with a potato masher or an electric whisk until free of lumps. Take out 2 heaped tablespoons and reserve these for thickening the soup. Add the flour and beat briefly to amalgamate. Add the egg and beat in.

Turn out on a floured surface, knead briefly and divide into 4. Roll each quarter into a cylinder with a diameter of about 2.5 cm/1 in. Shake more flour over, cover with a cloth and leave while you make the soup.

Peel and chop the shallots. If using fresh spinach, pick it over, discarding any blemished leaves and cutting out larger stalks.

Cooking

Heat a large pan of salted water to poach the dumplings.

Fry the shallots in the olive oil until translucent, grate in a little nutmeg to taste and add the stock. Bring to the boil and add the spinach. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Put in a liquidizer or food processor with the reserved potato and whizz to a creamy purée. Season with salt and pepper, return to the pan and keep hot over a very low heat.

Cut the gnocchi cylinders into individual dumplings. You decide how big you want to make them, but 2.5 cm/1 in lengths puff up nicely.

Poach in the simmering salted water for 5 minutes and remove with a spider or slotted spoon.

Serving

Transfer the cooked gnocchi to warmed soup bowls and ladle over the spinach soup. A neat combination.

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