So I had some za’atar spice mix left over from the last batch that I made. Having made za’atar pita bread, za’atar popcorn, chickpea salad and Spontaneous Tomato’s za’atar chickpeas, I went googling to bring my current za’atar journey to an end. For now.
Sweet potato; yum. Fetta; love. Za’atar oil; perfect.
As this was the first time I had ever cooked this recipe, I didn’t alter it at all. And now that I have cooked and eaten it? I don’t think I would ever alter it!
Recipe by Lauren Shockey, found on the Food52 website.
Serves 6 to 8
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons za’atar*
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 onion (peeled and diced)
- 1 carrot (peeled and diced)
- 1 leek (white part only, rinsed thoroughly and diced)
- 5 medium sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes)
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ¼ cup feta cheese
- In a small pot, combine ¼ cup olive oil and the za’atar. Cook over medium heat until hot, but take care not to burn the za’atar. Set aside for at least one hour to cool and infuse.
- In a large pot, heat the butter and remaining olive oil over medium high heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion, carrot, and leek, and cook until softened, about five minutes. Add the sweet potato cubes and sauté for another minute. Add the water, stock, and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Once the soup begins to boil, lower to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Check to make sure the sweet potatoes are completely soft. If not, continue cooking until they are.
- Remove the bay leaf and puree the soup using a regular or immersion blender. Check the seasoning and add the salt (you may need more or less depending on what type of stock you used). Ladle out the soup into individual bowls. Crumble some feta into each bowl, and drizzle each bowl with some of the za’atar oil.
* To make za’atar from scratch, combine 4 teaspoons dried thyme (or 4 tablespoons fresh, oven-dried thyme), 2 teaspoons sumac, 1 tablespoon lightly toasted sesame seeds and 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt and grind using a mortar and pestle. Further historical info and possible substitutions can be found here.