Yotam Ottolenghi’s winter soup recipes (2024)

January can be a confusing time, but the general resolve is to eat less and move more. After a month of potatoes roasted in duck fat, wedges of stilton and brandy-soaked cake, we somehow convince ourselves that a diet of blitzed green things, sprouted seeds and not a drop of wine is what our body needs in the deep midwinter. Well, I love blitzed green things and sprouted seeds, but they can be a shock to the system – so, for me, January is a time when soup comes into its own: gentle enough on your gut to give it the break it needs, but robust and delicious enough not to leave you wanting more.

Ham hock and red lentil soup

I can think of few things as comforting as lentil soup, and this one is a belter. Serves eight.

2 smoked ham hocks (about 1.7kg in all)
2 large carrots, quartered
2 large onions, peeled: 1 cut into quarters, the other finely diced
3 sticks celery, quartered
1 tsp allspice berries
½ tsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp olive oil
2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp tomato paste
400g tin chopped tomatoes
350g red lentils
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
2 small cinnamon sticks
4 strips shaved orange skin, plus 200ml orange juice (ie, from about 3 oranges)
Salt and black pepper

For the salsa
2 tsp caraway seeds, lightly crushed
60ml olive oil
30g parsley, roughly chopped

Put the hocks in a large pot with the carrots, quartered onion, celery, allspice and peppercorns. Add water to cover, then bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and leave to simmer gently for three hours, skimming off any fat and impurities that come to the surface and adding water as needed to keep the meat submerged. When the ham is almost falling apart, transfer the hocks to a large bowl and leave to cool down. Strain the stock and discard the aromatics and veg.

Put a large saucepan on a medium-high heat, then add the oil, chopped onion and chilli, and fry for seven minutes, stirring often, until the onion starts to caramelise and soften. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for two minutes, then add the tomato paste, tinned tomatoes, lentils, paprika, cinnamon, orange skin and juice, 2.3 litres of the stock, about half a teaspoon of salt (depending on how salty the stock is) and lots of ground pepper. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and leave to bubble away for 45 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the soup has thickened.

Meanwhile, make the salsa. Put the caraway and oil in a small frying pan on a medium heat and fry for a minute or two, until the seeds start to sizzle. Take off the heat, stir in the parsley and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt, and set aside.

Pull the meat from the hocks and use your hands or a knife to shred it into 1-2cm pieces. Add the ham to the soup, warm through for five minutes, then ladle into bowls and serve with the salsa spooned on top.

Spicy chard soup with sourdough and feta dumplings

Yotam Ottolenghi’s winter soup recipes (1)

You can make the dumplings in advance, but don’t cook them until you’re ready to serve. Serves six.

For the dumplings
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2½ tbsp plain flour
4 slices sourdough, crusts removed, lightly toasted and roughly blitzed in a food processor (170g net weight)
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
40g pine nuts, lightly toasted
20g parsley, finely chopped
1½ tsp thyme leaves, finely chopped
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
2 eggs, beaten
140ml chicken stock (or good-quality vegetable stock – do not use bouillon)
125g feta, crumbled into 1-2cm pieces
Salt and black pepper

For the broth
3 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed with the flat of a knife
2 onions, peeled, quartered and layers peeled apart into individual ‘petals’
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 cinnamon sticks (about 10g)
8 cardamom pods (add a couple extra if on the small side); if you don’t want to pick them out of the soup, tie them up in muslin
2 tsp tomato paste
700g swiss chard, stalks and leaves separated, stalks cut into 2cm-wide slices, leaves roughly torn
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped into 1cm dice
1 litre chicken stock (or good-quality vegetable stock)
80ml lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)

First make the dumplings. Put the oil in a medium frying pan on a medium-high flame. Once hot, fry the onion, stirring a few times, for about four minutes, until soft and translucent. Transfer to a medium bowl, add all the other dumpling ingredients apart from the feta. Add three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and mix to combine, then add the feta and mix again, taking care the cheese doesn’t break up too much. Using your hands, form the mixture into round 40g dumplings, tightly compressing them as you roll so they’ll stay intact while cooking. You should end up with 18 dumplings. Set aside.

Now get on with the broth. Heat the oil in an extra-large pot on a medium-high flame and, once hot, fry the garlic, onion, spices and tomato paste for five minutes, stirring often, until the onions and garlic are soft and fragrant. Add the chard stalks, saute for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, then stir in the tomatoes, stock, lemon juice, a litre and a half of water and a teaspoon and a quarter of salt. Bring up to a simmer, cook for eight minutes, then add the chard leaves and cook for seven minutes more.

When you are ready to eat, gently drop the dumplings into the simmering soup, poach for 10 minutes and serve.

Yellow split pea, burnt aubergine and peanut soup

This thick soup is a meal in itself, but you can bulk it out further by serving it with a bowl of rice. Panch phoran is a whole-seed mix from eastern India. You can buy it in most supermarkets and Asian food stores, or make your own by mixing equal amounts of fenugreek, fennel, black mustard, nigella and cumin seeds. Serves eight.

4 large aubergines (1.1kg in total)
130g peanuts, skin off and un-roasted (or skin off and roasted, in which case skip the roasting stage in the method)
100g ghee
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 red chillies, deseeded; 2 finely chopped, 2 julienned
40g ginger, peeled and finely chopped
8 stems fresh curry leaves (about 80 leaves in total)
½ tsp ground turmeric
4 tsp medium curry powder
1 tbsp panch phoran
300g yellow split peas, rinsed
1 litre each vegetable stock and water
40g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh lime juice

If you have a gas stove, ventilate the kitchen and roast the aubergines directly on an open flame for about 15 minutes, turning them once or twice with tongs, until their skin is charred all over and the aubergines are collapsing. Transfer to a bowl and, when cool enough to handle, cut the aubergines in half and scoop the flesh into a bowl; discard the skins. If you have an electric hob, char the aubergines in a very hot griddle pan for 45 minutes, turning them more often.

Heat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. Put the peanuts on an oven tray and roast for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Leave to cool, then blitz 80g of the nuts to a fine crumb, roughly chop the rest, and keep the two separate.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s tandoori recipesRead more

On a medium-high heat, melt 60g of the ghee in a large saucepan for which you have a lid, then fry the onion for eight minutes, stirring a few times, until soft and golden. Add the garlic, chopped chilli, ginger, half the curry leaves, the turmeric, half the curry powder, the panch phoran and a teaspoon and a half of salt. Cook, stirring, for a minute or two, until fragrant, then add the split peas and blitzed peanuts. Add the stock and water, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 50-60 minutes, until the peas are soft.

In the meantime, make the salsa. Melt the remaining ghee in a small frying pan on medium-high heat, then add the remaining curry powder and curry leaves, and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt; cook for two to three minutes, until the curry leaves are crisp and aromatic. Stir in the chopped peanuts, then tip into a small bowl and mix in the coriander and julienned chilli. Just before serving, stir in the lime juice.

Stir the smoked aubergine flesh into the soup, along with any juices that have leached out while cooling, and use the back of a spoon roughly to mash it into the lentils. Cook, stirring, for a minute or two and serve with the salsa spooned on top.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s winter soup recipes (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Msgr. Benton Quitzon

Last Updated:

Views: 6410

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (63 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Msgr. Benton Quitzon

Birthday: 2001-08-13

Address: 96487 Kris Cliff, Teresiafurt, WI 95201

Phone: +9418513585781

Job: Senior Designer

Hobby: Calligraphy, Rowing, Vacation, Geocaching, Web surfing, Electronics, Electronics

Introduction: My name is Msgr. Benton Quitzon, I am a comfortable, charming, thankful, happy, adventurous, handsome, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.