One glimpse of this za'atar-oil-flecked beauty and I knew I had to try it as soon as possible, so off I set to the store with hopes that my search for a packet of za'atar — a Middle Eastern spice blend comprising oregano, thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac — wouldn't be found futile. Thankfully, Spicely came to my rescue, no specialty store required; it even came in a conveniently smaller package to boot, a boon to those looking to waste less in the kitchen.
And to answer the burning question: yes, this soup was everything I wished for and more. Well-balanced, velvety smooth, and aesthetically appealing thanks to a swirl of za'atar oil, this tangerine-hued soup is a real winner.
While this soup is fantastic with a lone za'atar oil garnish, a chiffonade of parsley or cilantro, coarse-toasted homemade breadcrumbs, or croutons would all be welcome additions.
- Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil and the za'atar in a small saucepan until hot, but not boiling, then take it off of the heat. Allow it to cool to room temperature, and infuse with za'atar flavor while you proceed with making the soup.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a large stockpot or dutch oven over medium-high heat; add the thinly sliced carrots and leeks, season with a pinch of salt, and cook until softened and the vegetables have begun to brown.
- Add the sweet potato chunks and another pinch of salt, and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the water, stock, and bay leaf, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to keep the soup at a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender.
- Blend until smooth, either using an immersion blender or by carefully transferring to a blender in batches.
- Season to taste with salt and sherry vinegar. Ladle into bowls, and drizzle with za'atar oil.
- Other, Soups/Stews
- Serves 6-8