Soup is good at making us feel good. It’s easy to fill it with nourishing ingredients, and it’s hard to go wrong in pulling together something flavourful and satisfying. I adore this time of year for the natural attraction that I feel to soups and stews (which I know will look after me) and for how easy they are to make. I must confess to pulling out my crockpot frequently as the weather cools down; it’s so much easier to throw together a soup or stew in a few minutes claimed from my morning routine, than to fret over what to have for lunch when midday rolls around and we’re hungry.
Yesterday I really wanted a dense, satisfying soup, something full of rich flavours. I started with the idea of brown rice as a base, and went from there. I found two recipes that gave me enough inspiration to strike out on my own, combining curry spices, brown rice, chicken stock, sweet potatoes and kale, and topping the finished soup off with slices of fried halloumi cheese. The whole creation was deeply delicious and, yes, satisfying.
If you’re new to trendy halloumi, which I was when my husband’s knowledgeable foodie daughter introduced me to it last spring, this little blurb from Wikipedia will tell you what you need to know:
Halloumi cheese originated in Cyprus and was initially made during the Medieval Byzantine period (AD 395 – 1191), subsequently gaining popularity throughout the Middle East region. The cheese is white, with a distinctive layered texture, similar to mozzarella and has a salty flavour. It is stored in its natural juices with salt-water and can keep for up to a year if frozen below −18 °C (0 °F) and defrosted to +4 °C (39 °F) before sale.
It’s a great way to add instant flavour and protein to salads and all kinds of dishes, and it was a curried tomato soup garnished with paneer that made me think of adding it to my soup.
Curried brown rice and sweet potato soup with halloumi
1 onion, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped into small pieces
2 medium carrots, chopped into small dice
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs butter
2 tbs curry powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup brown rice
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 cup kale, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Step 1 – Saute onion in oil and butter over medium heat until soft, then add sweet potato and carrot and saute for a few minutes longer, adding in curry powder/spices and red pepper flakes. Once gently browned, tip the contents into slow cooker.
Step 2 – Add stock, water and brown rice to the slow cooker.
Step 3 – Cook over high for 6 hours. At the 5-hour mark, add in the kale, salt and pepper.
Step 4 – Grill or fry slices of halloumi (approx 2 minutes on either side) and garnish soup with these.
Having just harvested the last of our kale for this season, and sealed it in freezer bags for quick meal preparation, it’s nice to know that I can easily replicate this soup in the months to come. It’s equally good without the addition of halloumi – I took a thermos with some for today’s lunch at our local homeschool co-op, and enjoyed it thoroughly – but a garnish of some kind is always welcome when there is time for that little something extra. I think I probably was a little too generous with the halloumi yesterday (you can hardly see the soup underneath!), but it’s a rare treat and I was keen! I’ve shared the two recipes that got me to this soup below; they both look wonderful.