The Soup Blog
Recipes, Culinary Insights & Humor Spooned Up Fresh Every Week…………………(Now in its Ice Cream Phase)
A Marriage of Flavors: Spanakopita Soup
Categories: Cheese, Spinach, Vegetarian

Soup & Hydrangea

After nearly 13 years of marriage, I’ve learned there are times when I just need to keep my mouth shut.  Sadly I haven’t learned when those times are, so, to be on the safe side, I tend to hold my tongue almost always.

Luckily, my wife is something of a talker, so there is no shortage of words in our household and no shortage of material for my writing or my occasionally biting commentary.

We share many of the same passions—literature, theatre, the outdoors (Right, honey?), food, wine, entertaining— the same values, and the same valuables. But rather than being two peas in a pod we’re more like opposite sides of the same coin. As far as who’s the head and who’s the tail, let’s just say I’ve got her back.

It’s the kind of high-spirited marriage that has been going on in the cooking world for millennia.  This week’s soup is inspired by the Greek dish spanakopita, a fabulous filo-wrapped pastry filled with spinach, feta cheese, eggs, onions, scallions, blah, blah, blah.  Why even go on?  It’s the spinach and feta that spanakopita is all about.  And these two have been married a lot longer than any of us have.

They’re both strong flavors too.  Spinach has a clean, fresh taste accompanied by an underlying bitterness.  Feta cheese has a tangy sheep’s’ milk flavor offset slightly by the saltiness of the brine it’s packed in. You’d think putting these ingredients together would result in a brawl.  It’s definitely not something that can be settled with a coin toss.  Somehow, though, this conflict turns into something delicious.

Take this week’s soup, for example.

It’s ridiculously easy to make, amounting to little more than frying up an onion, tossing it into a pot along with everything else, simmering, pureeing, and, well…  That’s it.

In that simplicity however, is a pairing that brings out the best in both parts.  The sharpness of the feta cuts through the bitterness of the spinach at the same time the greens file down the tang of the cheese into something smooth and mellow.

There are many people, like my daughter, who cannot stand the taste of spinach regardless of how good it is for you.  Neither do all people like feta cheese, take my wife.  I like them both.  And when I put them together in a soup, the taste appeals to fans and detractors alike.

It’s like any great marriage.  The two partners push each other to be something better than they could ever be by themselves.  It’s not always painless and it’s not always pretty (see above), but it endures, so long as it maintains its delicate balance.  (Right, honey?)

Speaking of delicacy, anyone up for some soup?

Spinach & Feta Cheese Soup
(serves 4-6)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onions, chopped
1 ½ pounds spinach
4 cups stock: vegetable, chicken, lamb (in the Greek vein).  It’s your call.
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Salt & pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated

  1. Heat the oil in 2-3 quart stock pot, add onions and sauté until soft.
  2. Add spinach and stock to the pot, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.
  3. After simmering for about 30 minutes, removed from heat, add feta cheese and puree using a standing or immersion blender (What, again?).
  4. Adjust seasoning, if necessary.  It wasn’t for me. The feta’s pretty salty.  Garnish with grated parmesan and serve warm with pita bread, maybe some hummus, tzaziki, kalamata olives, you get the idea.

Photo Credit:  Spinach & Feta Cheese Soup with a Hydrangea garnish. One’s pretty, one, not so much.  Photo by the author

Let your opinion be heard.  Leave comments. Ask questions. Don’t blend in. I’ll be listening and responding.

15 Comments to “A Marriage of Flavors: Spanakopita Soup”

  1. Jenna says:

    This sounds so yummy! I will definitely add this to my list of things to try… perhaps when the school year ends and my life resembles normalcy. 🙂

    • pcandres says:

      It’s only about three months to go. You can do it. The soup will be even better in June. Let me know how it turns out. Thanks for the comment.
      Phil

  2. marcella says:

    Love the photo!

    • marcella says:

      “Somewhat of a talker” Lol! 🙂

      • pcandres says:

        It’s funny because it’s true. Thanks for the comments and thanks for reading.
        Phil

    • pcandres says:

      That’s quite a compliment coming from you. Thanks.
      Phil

  3. Anne says:

    Great blog today. And the soup sounds good, too!

    • pcandres says:

      Thanks for the comment. The soup is good. You should give it a try.
      Phil

  4. Jenna says:

    Okay, so I couldn’t wait…
    It sounded so yummy I went out and bought the ingredients yesterday. It’s simmering as I type!
    I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    Oh, and yes I am a teacher… an after-school teacher/tutor and summer school teacher. I get the same gratification from teaching without a lot of the headaches and bureaucracy of being a full-time classroom teacher. It also allows me to spend most of my day with my own kids (and sometimes make soup.)

    • pcandres says:

      Glad to hear it. I think your approach to teaching is a good one. I went the other route and had less time for my own kids and headaches and bureaucracy to spare. I look forward to hearing how the soup works out.
      Phil

  5. Jenna says:

    Here’s the official reviews from the Hulsey family:
    Jenna: Super delicious! I love spinach and feta, so this soup was not surprisingly wonderful. On a side note, I’m on the Weight Watcher’s plan and was happy that this soup is very low in calories and fat. (Hooray!)
    Ron: Really good, a little salty. (Probably because I made my own stock and didn’t account for the saltiness of the feta.)
    Lauryn (age 6): “Wow, I think this is the first time I’ve ever liked green soup!” (haha, I’m not kidding… this was her actual response!)
    Sam (age 4) Caleb (age 3): “Good, good, good.” and “I think this is the stuff that made the Green Goblin.” (I know you don’t have boys… mine really like Spiderman!)

    All in all, quite a success! I was bummed that I forgot to buy pita bread, but the soup was good alone.

    • pcandres says:

      What great feedback. Sounds like a tough crowd to please. I’d love to hear your stock recipe. Keep reading and keep cooking. Thanks

  6. YLUD says:

    WOW! I made the spinach-feta soup for lunch and it gone by dinner. This is about as easy a recipe as can be made. Keep ’em coming! Next is the borscht.

    Don

    • pcandres says:

      Glad you liked it, Don. More easy soups to come. And thicker too. Much, much thicker.

      Phil

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