Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup with Chourico

Recipe by Paula.

This soup is a complete meal in a bowl with the nutrient rich sweet potatoes and spinach and protein from the beans and chourico. You can easily convert this to a vegetarian soup by replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock and eliminating the chourico. 

The texture of this hearty soup is divine and I like the thickness that the while beans provide. If you'd like a thinner consistency, add a little water or more stock to get your version of perfection.  Enjoy!

Serves 8-10

8 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large onions, quartered
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 19oz can white beans
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for garnish
8 oz chourico (whole)
2 bay leafs
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (or more if desired)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or more if desired)
5 cups baby spinach

1. In a large soup pan, combine all the ingredients except for the spinach. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 45 to 50 minutes, or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

2. Remove the chourico and let it cool. Chop the chourico into cubes and fry them in a dry pan until they are crispy. Reserve.

3. Remove the bay leafs from the soup. Transfer soup to a food processor or blender and puree in batches until smooth. Transfer soup back to the pot and add the spinach. Cook spinach until it’s wilted. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, nutmeg and smoked paprika.

4. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish each serving with a few chourico cubes and a drop of extra virgin olive oil.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Olive Tapenade

Recipe by Paula.
Olives awaken the appetite and go really well with a glass of wine. I rarely start a dinner party without serving olives in some way. My secret to making this bold and richly flavoured tapenade is anchovy. Don't skip the anchovy. Your guests will never guess they are in there and they add such great flavour to the tapenade. If you can't find Kalamata olives use any other strong tasting olives. Enjoy!

Makes 2 cups


400 grams Kalamata olives, pitted
100 grams black olives, pitted
2 anchovy fillets
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried piri piri or red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brandy (or more to taste)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is coarsely pureed.

2. Taste the tapenade and adjust it with more vinegar, piri piri or olive oil, if needed.

3. Keep the tapenade refrigerated until needed then bring it to room temperature before serving. Serve with fresh bread or crackers.