Maltese Widows Soup
This soup comes from Malta and is named widows soup as it historically made a hearty meal for a lone widow with cheap ingredients from her garden. I imagine she just used whatever was available! Key Maltese ingredients are tomato paste, peas, garlic and bay leaves. To save time and make dinner easy, i chopped the vegetables in the morning and then cooked up the soup prior to eating... very simple!
Traditionally it is served with one Gbejniet (Maltese cheese) per person. These cheeses are slightly cooked in the soup and then served one per bowl. Unfortunately we don’t have these cheeses in New Zealand, so I just left it out. It would be good with pieces of chicken cooked in it or (very un-maltese) Tofu cubes. However simple adding some cubed feta popped just on serving would be yummy too.
I made a delicious soft cheese out of strained yoghurt to have on toast alongside our soup. I make this yoghurt cheese by straining about half a litre of yoghurt through muslin/cheese cloth in a sieve over a bowl. I leave this in the fridge all day, by which time it has firmed up and lots of whey has come out into the bowl. Then to the firm yoghurt cheese add: olive oil, salt, finely chopped garlic and basil.
2 medium sized onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip or a small kohlrabi, peeled and chopped
1 cup broad beans (frozen or fresh)
2 celery sticks, sliced
1 cup peas (frozen or fresh)
½ or a small cauliflower cut into bite size pieces
½ cup chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
Stock - enough to cover vegetables (chicken or vegetable –about 2 litres)
1 ½ tbsp tomato paste
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp each of butter and olive oil
1. Sauté garlic, onion and parsley in the butter and olive oil until soft.
2. Add potato, carrot, parsnip/kohlrabi, and celery.
3. Pour in stock and tomato paste. Stir well.
4. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are half cooked. Add the cauliflower beans and peas.
6. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.