Curried brown rice and sweet potato soup with halloumi

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.

Brown rice and sweet potato soup in the crockpot

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.

Grilled halloumi cheese in a pan

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.

Curried brown rice and sweet potato soup topped with halloumi

Curried tomato and brown rice soup with fried paneer from Naturally Ella
Brown Rice and Greens Soup with Turkey Sausage from Bon Appetit

17 thoughts on “Curried brown rice and sweet potato soup with halloumi

  1. That sounds delicious. I admit I haven’t tried cooking brown rice in the slow cooker – for some reason I have it in my head that it can’t be done – obviously not true! I usually cook it separately and add it in near the end, but it doesn’t absorb the flavours as well that way. I’ll have to try this and see for myself. I’ve not tried halloumi cheese, and we’re cheese hogs here, so that’s down on the list to search out and try.

    1. It really is one of the most flavourful soups I’ve made. Don’t be afraid of the brown rice – I know exactly what you mean, but it worked a charm in this, and cook through beautifully in the stated time. I think you’re going to like Halloumi! We have found that even the regular mainstream supermarket is carrying it here now.

  2. Sounds delicious – it is early morning and I was trying to think of something to make for dinner tonight – I believe you have solved the problem! I’ll let you know how it goes with cashew cheese!

    1. Oh, I love to hear that, that’s really great news! I hope your family loves it and I’d be really interested to know how it goes with cashew cheese.

  3. Halloumi cheese! I just learned something new this morn. I bet everyone in your homeschool co-op was wishing you brought them a thermos too! Feeling a little like you yesterday. Must’ve been that wind. I made a sweet potato chilli and threw in some kale and served it over some brown rice. Unfortunately, Dan and I will have to fight over the leftovers for lunch today.

    1. Discovering a new food is always exciting, isn’t it? You can pick it up at Patrice’s in the cheese section (near the parmesan) 🙂 That’s so funny that we were so in sync with our cooking the other day – tells you how guided we are by the weather and time of year. Good luck with the arm wrestle over those tasty leftovers!

  4. This soup looks AMAZING. I can’t begin to imagine how intense the flavour must have been after 6 hours! I really must invest in a crackpot one of these days. Love the idea of making a dish like this soup and arriving home to ready-made dinner at the end of the day. Love your idea of topping it with a haloumi blanket (I think your quantity looks just right) 🙂
    My boys refer to haloumi as ‘squeaky cheese’

    1. Thanks Sas! Squeaky cheese, that’s so true – what an apt description. The flavour is amazingly developed thanks to the long, slow cook. Definitely a nice way to do this soup. And, of course, it’s even better the next day. I really do heartily recommend a crockpot, they are such a life saver, and I love smelling something good cooking that I don’t have to tend to. Now, a crackpot, on the other hand… 🙂

  5. This looks really good. We have plenty of kale and sweet potatoes these days so I’ve passed this along to the resident cook (fortuntately for us, that isn’t me).

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