Extraordinary Veggie Soup

 Tom Schierlitz

Marcus Samuelsson has cooked some of New York’s most sought-after cuisine at Aquavit, and some of its most comforting at the Red Rooster. Inspired by his dual heritage – he was born in Ethiopia and grew up in Sweden – Samuelsson uses plenty of ingredients you may be unfamiliar with, but makes a convincing case for cooking with a broader range of flavors at home. “I’m constantly tasting food throughout the day, and it’s not always healthy options I’m trying. So it’s nice to make something as simple as this and take a break from what can be a meat- and fish-heavy diet. People sometimes worry that a vegan meal is flavorless, but the flavors and textures of this soup play off each other so well, it proves that theory wrong. It’s absolutely yummy,” Samuelsson says.

• 1/2 cup uncooked orzo
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 red onion, chopped
• 1 tbsp chili powder
• 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
• 1 mild green chili, chopped with seeds and ribs removed
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tbsp blond miso
• 2 tbsp mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• 2 cups spinach
• 2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
• flesh of 1 avocado
• juice from 2 lemons
• 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

Step 1
Bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Step 2
Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion, chili powder, ginger, chili, and garlic. Sauté until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes.

Step 3
Add 4 cups of water, season with the salt, and bring to a simmer. Stir in miso, mirin, and soy sauce; simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 4
Add the spinach, tomatoes, avocado, lemon juice, cilantro, and orzo. Simmer until heated through.