Winter warmers

As we head into the first week of March, we are hoping winter is drawing to a close. Try some of these warming soups while the temperatures are still low enough to find comfort in hot, soupy goodness.

Lamb shank and barley soup


This is best made with leftover lamb shanks so you can make use of the tasty gravy for added flavour. Braise the shanks for 3 hours in red wine for a delightful winter meal and save 2 shanks this warming soup the following day.


• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 2 lamb shanks, taken off the bone
• 1 large onion
• 4 cloves garlic
• ½ chilli (optional)
• 2 carrots, diced
• 2 sticks celery, chopped
• ½ litre leftover gravy from lamb shanks
• 1½ litres water
• ½ cup pearl barley
• 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 lemon, juice only
• Salt and pepper


1. Heat the olive oil and add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and chilli if using.
2. Cook for 5 mins or until soft.
3. Add the lamb, barley, half the rosemary, bay leaf along with the water and gravy.
4. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for approx 45 mins until the barley is soft.
5. Add the lemon juice, the remaining rosemary and season with salt and pepper.
6. Serve hot with crusty Maltese bread.

Tom Yum soup



• Water
• 2 – 3 prawns
• 1 stalk lemongrass, crushed
• 1 slice galangal
• 2 kaffir lime leaves, torn and quartered
• 2 – 3 chillies
• ½ tomato, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 1 mushroom, sliced
• ½ onion, sliced
• Chopped coriander
• Spring onion, sliced
• 1 tsp sugar
• 2 tsp fish sauce
• 1 tbsp lime juice


1. Heat the water in a pot over high heat until just boiling.
2. Add the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and chillies and boil for 2 – 3 mins.
3. Add tomato, onion and mushrooms and cook for another 30 seconds.
4. Lower the heat, add sugar, fish sauce and lime juice.
5. Add the prawns and cook until done.
6. Plate the soup and add coriander and spring onions to garnish.

Chicken gumbo soup



• Cooked chicken, (4 breasts)
• 2 heaped tbsp flour
• 4 tbsp butter
• 2 onions, diced
• 1 bulb garlic, minced
• 1 green pepper, chopped
• 3 stalks celery
• 2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
• 5 cups chicken stock
• 1 tin tomatoes
• 2 tbsp tomato puree (kunserva)
• 1 tsp sugar
• 1 bunch parsley
• Salt and pepper
• Cooked rice


1. Heat 2 tbsp butter with some olive oil in a saucepan large enough to hold all the ingredients together.
2. Add the flour and stir constantly for approx 5 mins to form a roux.
3. Add the garlic, onions, peppers and celery and season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the chicken stock and stir until the roux has dissolved.
5. Dice the chicken and add it to the soup along with the tin of tomatoes, tomato puree and sugar.
6. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 30 mins.
7. Cook the rice separately and serve the soup over a spoonful of rice.

Curried pumpkin soup with coconut milk



• 2 onion, roughly chopped
• 4 cloves garlic
• 1 chilli (optional)
• 1 lime, zest only
• 1 tsp curry powder
• 1kg pumpkin, peeled and chopped
• 700ml chicken stock (or vegetable to make vegetarian)
• 150ml coconut milk
• Handful pumpkin seeds
• Handful coriander
• Drizzle chilli oil


1. Fry the onions and garlic in some olive oil until translucent.
2. Add the chilli, lime zest and curry powder and mix.
3. Add the pumpkin and cook until softened (approx 5 mins).
4. Add the chicken stock (or vegetable stock) and simmer for 10 mins until the pumpkin is very soft.
5. Add the coconut milk and blend with a hand blender. If you want the soup to be very smooth pass through a sieve. I prefer it chunky.
6. Fry the pumpkin seeds with a little garlic and chilli until crisp.
7. Garnish the soup with fried pumpkin seeds, chopped coriander and chilli oil.

Rachel Zammit Cutajar