Monday 16 January 2012

Meat Free Monday: Hachapuri and pumpkin soup

This week's meat-free Monday is some serious comfort food. What could be more satisfyingly rib-sticking than a big bowl of velvety pumpkin soup and a wedge of crusty bread oozing with salty cheese? Not much! I've posted soup and cheesy bread before of course, but I think this version is the zenith of the combination.

The bread is Nigella Lawson's recipe for hachapuri from Feast. Hachapuri, or khachapuri seems to be pretty much the national dish of Georgia, and it is so delicious I can well understand why. Just as a side note, it looks as though the "puri" in hachapuri means bread in Georgian, which must have drifted up the silk route from Indian puri/poori, wouldn't you think?

Nigella's recipe makes a lot. A lot. I made a half-quantity and it would have made 6 generous portions easily. As it was, we stuffed ourselves for dinner, then warmed up the leftovers and stuffed ourselves for lunch again the following day. The combination of soda-leavened crusty bread and copious quantities of oozy white cheese was irresistible. I actually think you could probably reduce the amount of filling by a third and it wouldn't suffer greatly, but as it was it was decadent and delicious, with the mixture of ricotta, feta and mozzarella providing a perfect balance between creaminess, saltiness and stretchiness.

I'm sure everyone has their favourite recipe for pumpkin soup. Because of the richness of the hachapuri, I wanted my soup to just be very, very simple. It's not at all lacking in flavour though. As it happens, the soup is vegan (not that it matters when there is this much cheese around...) but if you weren't making the hachapuri you could add a swirl of sour cream at the end.

Pumpkin soup

Olive oil
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 pumpkin (this was an acorn squash, but kabocha or butternut is good too)
1 litre veg stock
salt, pepper & mace
chives to garnish

Sweat the onion and garlic in a little olive oil in a large pot until translucent. Add the peeled and seeded pumpkin, cut into chunks, then cover with the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is really tender. Allow to cool a little, then purée (I used a stick blender, because the more effective blender is more hassle to wash up). Reheat the purée gently, seasoning with salt (if needed, it may not depending on the stock you used), pepper and a pinch of ground mace. Serve sprinkled with snipped chives.

I'm sharing this very simple soup recipe with Deb, for her long-running Souper (soup, salad and sammie) Sunday event.

By the way, I've added a couple of widgets to the side-bar. You can now subscribe to my RSS feed, if that is how you roll, and there is a search function. Don't know how well the search function works!


hungryandfrozen said...

I can see why you'd want a simple soup with them :) I've been wanting to make these ever since I first got Feast - which was, admittedly, well before the price of dairy skyrocketed in New Zealand. The promise of the generous half-batch gives me hope that I might be able to try them sooner rather than later.

azélia said...

Interesting on the bread idea...a calzone of sorts I suppose :)

With that amount of cheese in the middle how was the crumb of the bread? I mean was it able to bake properly with so much moisture from the cheese?

I'm trying to picture in my head as one does :)

One of my favourite ways with butternut squash/pumpkin soup is adding ground coriander.

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

Very intrigued by the hachapuri. Nice simple pumpkin soup too, easier than the one I used to make!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Both the bread and soup sound delicious and are perfect together. The bread sounds especially interesting. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Caroline said...

Wow, that looks seriously amazing. Pumpkin soup and cheese stuffed bread sounds like a true feast to me!

Simona Carini said...

I made some pumpkin soup yesterday too: really good food and good for you. If you like ginger, you can try add some chopped fresh ginger to the soup. I actually recommend it. Have a great week!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Laura - even try less filling in the half portion. But it's definitely worth doing!

Azelia - I was concerned too, but it didn't end up soggy.

Leafy - it really is the most basic way of doing it!

Mary - thank you! Have a lovely day

C - I am such a sucker for melted cheese.

Simona - I've often put ginger in pumpkin soup, you are right, it is an excellent flavour!

Su-Lin said...

Oh, you made khachapuri! I do have to try that Nigella recipe...and maybe I'll lessen the cheese a little... :D

Gemma said...

I've always been tempted to try that recipe but never quite managed to get around to it - it looks incredible!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Su-Lin, Gemma, I am getting the impression that everyone who has Feast has been eyeing up that recipe!

Unknown said...

This soup looks amazing! Wish I had a bowl right now!

mscrankypants said...

That bread is made of heaven. Roll on autumn here so I can make it with new-season pumpkin soup.

Joanne said...

I can't think of anything I want more than this soup and stuffed bread. At all.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Cafe Sucre - thank you!

Cranky - for me, pumpkin soup is so Australian, I don't think anyone likes it as much as we do!

Joanne - a small portion would be good for you!

Rachel said...

I love the idea of hachapuri. Will have to research this one for sure. Lovely combo and photos.

Deb in Hawaii said...

You can't argue with bread stuffed with salty cheese and thick creamy soup to dunk it into.

Thanks for sharing your pumpkin soup with Souper Sundays. ;-)

Alicia Foodycat said...

Rachel - It might be a tricky one to make gluten-free!

Deb - thanks for the round-up!

Choclette said...

You can't go wrong with pumpkin soup - just love it. I've not heard of hachapuri before but what an amazing concept, comfort food indeed. The puri part of the name can be no accident (probably)!

kat said...

oh my gosh look at that creamy filling!


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