This Maltese fave, widows soup, is another one of those dishes where every family has their own recipe. One thing they all seem to agree on however is the inclusion of cauliflower, and mini Maltese goat cheeses called ġbejna which are popped into the soup whole in the last five minutes of cooking. Each diner gets a whole cheese to themselves, and it acts as a sort of molten flavour bomb in the middle of your soup. Healthy it ain't.
Ġbejna have an EU protected designation of origin status. I couldn't find anywhere in London to buy them, couldn't find any online and couldn't find a recipe to make them myself. Therefore I substituted with a French goat cheese, chabichou du poitou, which was the closest thing I could find at Sainsburys Sydenham. It was absolutely delicious, and I would definitely recommend it, but as ġbejna are such a fundamental part of this soup it can't really be called an authentic Maltese dish unless you use it.
If anybody knows where you can find ġbejna in London, please let us know.
- 225g plum tomatoes
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 300g cauliflower (about 1 small), chopped into florets
- 300g new potatoes sliced into 1cm roundels
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 125g frozen peas
- 1.5l vegetable stock
- 5 Maltese ġbejna cheeselets (or subtitute with 300g goats cheese).
NUTRITIONAL CONTENT PER PORTION
- Calories | 385
- Fat | 22.4g
Serves | 5
Prep Time | 10 minutes
Cooking Time | 1 hour
- Score a cross in the top of each tomato, submerge in boiling water for a minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge directly in a bowl of cold water. Remove the skins with your fingers and chop roughly.
- Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until translucent.
- Add the cauliflower and potatoes and cook over medium for a further five minutes until they start to brown.
- Season generously with salt and pepper then stir in the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, peas and stock.
- Cover, bring to the boil and then simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add the cheese to the soup, in whole pieces if you have ġbejna or cut into 5cm roundels if substituted with goats cheese.
- Cover and cook over medium for five minutes before serving.