Happiness Soup

This is a lovely soup and I was hopeful that it would lift my mood, as the introduction suggests. I am battling a crappy cold which came on so suddenly that I was unable to use any of my usual preemptive measures: drinking orange juice by the gallon, sleeping more than usual and taking echinacea. I have no idea if these measures help, but I had been cold-free for about a year before this cold blindsided me.

I managed to get out of bed and be upright for long enough to make the soup and eat a bowl of it too. Perhaps it was the hot steam which helped to free up my sinuses, or the Vitamin C boost from the lemon or maybe it was the bright and sunny colour of the soup, but I think it helped.

Here’s what happened.
Got the yellow courgettes (courgettes = zucchini) and washed them.

Yellow courgettes.

Yellow courgettes.

Then chopped them.

Chopped yellow courgettes.

Chopped yellow courgettes.

Got a lemon.

Lemon.

Lemon.

Zested the lemon.

Lemon zest.

Lemon zest.

Then juiced the lemon.

Lemon juice.

Lemon juice.

Got the basmati rice.

Basmati rice.

Basmati rice.

And the turmeric powder.

Turmeric powder.

Turmeric powder.

Measured the chicken stock.

Chicken stock.

Chicken stock.

Put the chopped courgettes and lemon zest into a pot with olive oil.

Courgettes and lemon zest.

Courgettes and lemon zest.

When the courgettes were slightly cooked, added the turmeric.

Add the turmeric.

Add the turmeric.

And the chicken stock.

Add the chicken stock.

Add the chicken stock.

And the rice (Note: two whatfoodimade actions shots™!).

Adding the rice.

Adding the rice.

Cooked for another 15 – 20 minutes and it became…
Happiness Soup.

Happiness soup.

Happiness soup.

The recipe is from Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson and can be found here:
http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/happiness-soup-207

Happiness Soup
Serves: 4-6

Forgive the tweeness of the title, but this is a soup of such sunny, mood-enhancing yellowness that it overcomes even the most pervasively innate cynicism. To eat this is to feel cheered; even cooking it gives me a lift. It’s incredibly easy to make, but that’s not the clincher. This golden broth, rice-thickened and studded with a confetti dice of yellow courgettes and sprightly with lemon is pure joy. You only have to see it to believe it. And not surprisingly in some Middle-Eastern cultures, it is believed, in Claudia Roden’s words, that ‘eating yellow foods will result in laughter and happiness’. This, then, is a yellow soup to banish the blues.

18 oz. yellow courgettes (2 large)
1 lemon (zest and juice)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoons turmeric powder
1.76 pints chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
4 oz. basmati rice
1 pinch of Maldon salt
1 pinch of pepper

Method

Cut the courgettes – wash them by all means if you want, but don’t bother to peel them – into 5mm rings, and then finely dice them. Put them into a pan with the lemon zest and oil, stir to coat, then cook on a gentle heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they’ve slightly softened.

Stir in the turmeric and pour in the stock and lemon juice and then drop in the rice. And for the stock here, as usual I make up some bouillon concentrate with water; you could use vegetable stock if you prefer, but I love the mellow goldenness you get from chicken.

Cook, uncovered, for 10-20 minutes, or just until the courgettes and rice are tender. Taste for seasoning.

Leave to cool slightly before serving so that you eat the soup warm rather than hot.

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