TGIFOOD

POPEYE BROTH

What’s cooking today: Spinach & bacon soup

Tony Jackman’s spinach and bacon soup, served in a Mervyn Gers Ceramics bowl. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

As with any spinach recipe, you need a lot of it for this soup, as it cooks away to a fraction of its former self.

The dark green and perky spinach leaves in proud bunches were calling to me in the vegetable aisle. They needed to go into a soup, and fast. But they needed other flavourings too. First to come to mind were a touch of lemon and a grating of nutmeg. But bacon… There had to be bacon too. And so it came to pass.

Ingredients

3 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 or 3 leeks, washed and sliced

200 g finely diced bacon (if it’s “bacon bits”, chop them finer)

1 large potato, peeled and grated

1.25 litres vegetable stock

2 bunches of spinach, washed and left to drain

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

The juice of ½ a lemon

4 Tbsp cream

Garlic salt to taste

Celery salt to taste

White pepper to taste

2 slices day-old bread, crusts cut off

Butter and bacon fat for frying the croutons

Method

Sauté the onions and garlic in butter in a deep, heavy soup pot until softened. Add the leeks and sauté gently while stirring for three or four minutes. Remove to a side dish so you can cook the spinach in the same pot.

In a frying pan, fry the diced bacon in a Tbsp of olive oil. Set aside 2 Tbsp of the fried bacon bits for garnishing the soup, and leave the bacon fat in the pan for frying your croutons later.

Cut away and discard the white stems of the spinach and shred the leaves finely. Put all the spinach in the soup pot and cook, with nothing else added, while stirring until the spinach is wilted.

Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and add the grated nutmeg, white pepper and salt. Cook, stirring, for two or three minutes.

Add the grated potato and stir. Return the onions to the pot and add the cooked bacon. Cook, stirring, for three or four minutes.

Add the vegetable stock and season with celery salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the grated potato is tender.

Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Use a handheld blender to blend the soup to a fairly smooth consistency. Add the cream and bring the soup back to a simmer, cooking gently for three or four minutes.

Slice the bread into small squares and fry in the bacon fat, adding a little butter if there is not enough.

Serve the soup garnished with croutons and crunchy bits of bacon. DM/TGIFood

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here

Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks. Share your versions of his recipes with him on Instagram and he’ll see them and respond.

SUBSCRIBE to TGIFood here. Also visit the TGIFood platform, a repository of all of our food writing.

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