My head was throbbing as I departed Václav Havel Airport. The twenty-plus-hours flight from Melbourne was taking its toll. We quickly jumped into a cab to Prague city centre. We had a room booked at Radisson Blu. It was already mid-afternoon, in November. Not much chitchat with the driver as he cruised to avoid the mounting traffic. It was drizzling. It must have snowed the night before. The red-clay roof tiles were coated with a thin white blanket. For a short instance I lost my bearings as the cab zigzagged downhill onto an old bridge and a couple of turns later we were within sights of the Old Town. From far we could distinguish a couple of old tram running over the Vltava River towards the New Town. The cab sped up along the river bank and turned left onto the very bridge we saw the trams earlier. We arrived at the hotel a short time after. We were amazed by the architecture, even in passing.
The check-in was quick and smooth. I noted that the hotel interior was in complete contrast with its pale front façade. But I didn’t dwell too long on it. We took the lift, turned left and right to get to our room. It was pretty spacious with a large window. There wasn’t much of a view, except for office windows and mouldy roof tops. It didn’t bother me more than that. At that point I was more interested in taking a long overdue bath. My husband, who preferred a nice hot shower, was nicely tucked under the sheet when I eventually emerged from the bathroom. We went through the basics together: WiFi tick; calls to our relatives in Melbourne and Poland tick and lastly Facebook tick. We talked a bit longer before falling asleep. I woke up first from the nap; made some instant coffee and called my parents again. My husband followed suit roughly ten minutes later. He was hungry. I was too. We looked at the menu. There was nothing that inspired us.
It was early evening (7ish). It was cold. And we were starving. We wanted something traditional. A soup, if possible.
Warmly dressed we stumbled onto the cobblestone portion of Štěpánská Street. We didn’t have a map but look around for some landmark to make our back should we get lost. We walked into a shopping centre literally across the road, stepped inside, looked around for some restaurants. Nothing in view. We got out onto a different street shared by both cars and trams. Saw a bakery next to a mini mart. Ran to it, hoping to grab something to eat. They were about to close so not much choice at this time of the evening. We ran into the mini mart. Grab some drinks and chocolate for later. We kept looking around. It started to drizzle again. At that point we thought that the hotel menu wasn’t that bad after all. We may even have the burger. We rushed down the now busy streets. It was Friday evening people were popping up from all corners for drinks.
Out of sheer luck we came across this Asian restaurant/bar on Václavské nám. Can’t quite remember the name. It prides itself on providing fusion Asian and European cuisine. My husband looked at me and we thought: “why not!” We desperately needed a soup. And soup we will have. And soup we had. It was one of the most amazing chilli hot soup we’ve ever had. We ever had a Thai dish that was likely spectacular. Once we were full and rested we just had a good laugh at ourselves. Out of all places on earth. We never ever imagine we would have Asian food in Prague. In days that past we actually indulged in traditional Czech cuisine (again mostly traditional soup). And on that Friday night, after we went back to the hotel to sleep we did wake up in the early hours of Saturday to order the Burger as well! The purpose of this story is that wherever we’ve gone too since we’ve been together we’ve never deflected from the idea of having a good soup. With winter well and truly on us in Melbourne it’s time for me to get on with more soup based dinner. Thus tonight’s post.
- 1 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Plus extra for drizzling
- 125g Firm Air-Dried Chorizo, thinly sliced
- 2 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
- 400g Can Chopped Tomatoes
- 500ml Chicken Stock
- 500g Pumpkin, peeled and chopped
- Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper
- 400g Can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
For Squash Chips:
- 8 baby squash
- Japanese bread crumbs (Panko crumbs)
- Salt and pepper
- Grated tasty cheese
- Dried oregano and garlic
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the chorizo and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3–4 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the tomatoes, stock, pumpkin, salt and pepper to the saucepan and cook for 12 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the mixture to cool slightly. Blend until smooth.
- Return the soup to a medium heat, add the black beans and cook until heated through. Top the soup with the chorizo and garlic and drizzle with extra oil to serve.
- For the squash chips, add the dried oregano and garlic to the Japanese bread crumbs along with the salt and pepper. Mix well and add the grated cheese.
- Slice the baby squash thinly and cover in the crumbs before baking. Remove chips when it turned a golden brown and serve with soup.
I hope you enjoy it!