Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Home-made winter soup

It's definitely soup weather, later than most years.  I love soup, and since my friend Jane gave me an amazing liquidizer, it's easier than ever to have smooth vegetable soup whenever I feel like it.

My method with soup is easy.  I usually use carrots and potatoes as a base for my soups, and I use onions or leeks (prefried) as flavouring, with garlic if I fancy it.  I add anything that comes to hand - parsnips, leftover vegetables, beans, spinach... though be aware that the colour turns from a lovely orange to a rather greeny brown on the addition of a lot of greenstuff. 

So... ingredients
6 carrots
2 or more potatoes
Any leftover vegetables or vegetables you'd like to add
2 onions (chopped and fried)
1 large tomato or a bunch of smaller ones
stock - either fresh or reconstituted pots or cubes - but watch out not to add too much salt if using commercial stock, lots of them already have a lot in.  I used to use chicken stock, but I have progressed to beef and I like that better although it doesn't smell as good when cooking, strangely.
butter/oil for frying
garlic (optional)
Worcerstershire sauce

Fry the onion and tomato and set aside.  If very fancy you may want to skin the tomato before chopping and frying.  Add garlic if wanted.

Roughly chop all the other vegetables, put in a pan and cover with stock.  Bring to the boil for 30-60 minutes, making sure the potatoes and carrots are cooked. 

Depending upon whether you have a plastic blender or a glass one, you may have to leave the soup to cool before blending.  My posh blender has a different problem altogether:  if you follow the instructions and tightly fit the lid onto the blender with hot ingredients, it fountains out of the top when you begin to blend.  I learned the hard way, with hot soup on my cupboards, toaster and myself, that one should leave off the stopper in the middle and cover it with a clean tea towel!

Blend until smooth.  Add in the fried onions at this point to blend them in too.  Return the blended ingredients to a clean pan.

Reheat and then test the soup, and add the extra ingredients like worcestershire sauce, seasoning, maybe a splash of balsamic vinegar, to get the soup to taste the way you like it.  Some soups with parsnip and carrot can be very sweet and need balancing with salt and pepper, others need a little sweetness to bring out the flavours.  Anything goes.  Play with the ingredients and note down if you like extra onion, or not so much onion etc, to help next time!

I like my soup hot in a bowl with a dollop of cream or creme fraiche or yoghurt in the middle.

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