Soups

Bung It In a Pot Soup

(ie concentrated essence of deliciousness, not to mention good for you)

 

Chop:

3 carrots

1 bunch parsley

2 parsnips

1-2 leeks

3 sticks celery

6 cloves garlic

2 large red onions

300gm or so blade steak or similar

6 largish mushrooms

 

Fry till onion is soft in olive oil. Bung in pot. Or just bung everything in a pot. Add:

2 large cartons chicken stock

2 small cartons beef stock

half a cup pearl barley

Simmer 3-4 hours.

Add a can of tomatoes or chopped tomatoes after about 2 hours- not sooner or the onion and leek will toughen and 1 large  can red or white beans

Keep in sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.

Great for lunch or dinner or serve it in a mug for afternoon tea. Also good thermos soup for football match survival.More stock can be added to thin it a bit, or add a chopped spud or two if a horde of guests arrive.

Magic soup

1 kg chicken wings

6 carrots

2 cartons chicken stock – large

1 carton water, or more if needed

6 large leeks

2 cans creamed corn

3 tbsp soy sauce

3-6 chopped chicken thighs

½ cup barley

Optional: chopped onion, garlic, parsnip, mushrooms, parsley

 

Simmer wings in the stock and water for 'a while'. A while depends what book you're reading i.e. half an hour to two hours but check it doesn't boil dry. Remove wings. Do not feed to the cat or dog as the bones may now be sharp. (Peel off the tough bits from the leeks and wash out any grit.

Chop and add to stock. Simmer for another 'while' until they're soft – maybe half an hour. Now add all the other stuff and simmer till the barley is soft – again, at least half an hour.

By now the leeks will have vanished into thick rich soup stock and so will the corn, mostly.

Keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze any leftovers.

This is very, very good.

Spinach Soup

 

The eggs in this may not be cooked enough to destroy salmonella or other nasties that you can get in a soft-boiled or raw egg.

Do not serve to anyone who is pregnant, frail, very young or where there is any other reason why their immune system may not be able to handle semi-cooked egg.

 

You'll need:

2 cups thickly packed spinach, cooked and finely chopped (yes, it can be frozen –  but make sure you squeeze well)

3 red onions, finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

6 cups stock, chicken or vegetable

4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 eggs

Method:

Sauté the onions in the oil for about twenty minutes on low, till soft and almost caramel coloured, (but not browned, as that turns them bitter).

Add the stock and spinach; bring to the boil, simmer for two minutes and turn off the heat.

Now beat the eggs well, then mix in the cheese.

As soon as the soup has cooled for about five minutes in a wide pan, slowly and steadily mix in the egg/cheese mixture. If it’s too hot, or too fast, you’ll get scrambled, cheesy eggs in spinach soup, which is still quite nice – do not throw it out. But what you’re really after is a delicate, velvety, thickened soup.

Once it has been mixed in, heat again, but not to boiling or it may curdle, and serve at once.

Baked croutons – small squares of bread baked till crisp in the oven – are good added at the last minute.

Ultimate comfort chicken soup

Take a very large pot and add:
1 kg chicken wings, chicken carcasses or one elderly chook
6 carrots, chopped
6 leeks, white part only, well chopped
1 bunch celery, well washed (leave on the leaves), chopped
6 red onions, chopped
10 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch parsley
1 fresh chilli
¼ cup barley
 
Cover with water
Simmer 1 hours.
Remove the chook when cool and chop up the meat.

Keep soup in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for up to three months. You can  omit the barley, and add your favourite noodles when reheating.  
You can also strain off the vegetable and chicken rich liquid; throw the old veg and meat to the chooks, and add freshly sauteed veg (your choice: chopped leeks, skinned tomatoes,  chopped carrots,  or fresh chopped mushrooms with chopped parsley or coriander) just before serving. This gives you a rich stock plus the taste of fresh veg- more work, but a far more delicious result., But the ‘all simmered together’ soup is wonderfully comforting too, if less haute cuisine)

Carrot soup

 

You'll need:

4 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 large potato (or two small) peeled and chopped

1 large carton chicken stock

 

Method:

Boil ingredients for ten minutes.

Blend. If you don’t have a blender, chop the onion finely; otherwise, big chunks are fine.

You can sprinkle the top with summer savoury - a great herb, but you need to grow your own – or chopped coriander.

Variation: add 1 tablespoon of curry paste: I prefer it this way, though I usually make my own curry mix. Coriander is especially good as a garnish with the curried version.

Potato and cauliflower soup
 
You'll need:     
1 cup of cauliflower
2 potatoes
4 cups of chicken stock
2 teaspoons of dill leaves
1 dollop of cream


Method:
Chop the cauliflower and potatoes, simmer in the chicken stock with the dill leaves.
Mash well with a potato masher (the slight chunkiness is nice).
Add more dill if the cauliflower was stale and tasteless, then a drop of cream.
 
Serve hot.

Roast chicken soup

(About 8 serves)

 

The remnants of one large roast chook

4 large red onions, peeled and chopped

1 bulb garlic, peeled and chopped

4 tb olive oil

half a cup barley

10 - 12 cups chicken stock

1 cup creamed sweet corn

3 tb soy sauce

3 sticks celery, chopped, with a few chopped leaves

4 tb parsley, chopped

4 large carrots, peeled and chopped

juice half a lemon or 1 lime

1 tb corn flour (or 2-3 if you like a thicker soup)

optional: 4 tb garlic chives, chopped

4 tb spring onions, chopped

a little fresh cauliflower, chopped

2 parsnips, peeled and chopped

1 cup fresh peas or broad beans

white of 2 leeks, chopped

half cup orange sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1 tb fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1-3 fresh red chillies, chopped

Method:

Stir onions and garlic in olive oil in a large pan till soft. Add the flour; stir. Add the stock, stir so it isn't lumpy. Add everything else except the chook. put the lid on, simmer half to 1 hour. Chop the chicken meat. Add to the pot. Simmer 1-5 minutes. Serve hot with good bread.

Keep in the fridge, and have a good big bowlful for lunch or dinner for the rest of the week.

Thai Style Chicken Soup

 

Warning: This is hot!

You'll need:

12 chicken pieces, or one elderly chook

 

for paste:

6 cloves garlic

2 tsp brown sugar

2 tsp fresh turmeric

2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cardamom

2 small red chillies, very finely chopped

1 tablespoon oil

1/2 cup coconut milk

Extra tbsp oil

 

Optional (and not at all Thai):

4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

 

For soup:

2 small red chillies, very finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped

2 tablespoons palm sugar

1/2 cup lime juice

Water as needed

 

To garnish:

8 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Method:

Mix the paste ingredients. I use a small, wooden spoon handle, but a blender or a mortar and pestle may be used.

Saute for a few minutes, stirring well, in the extra oil over low heat. Add chicken, other ingredients, including as much water as needed to cover it all.

Simmer till chicken is tender, which may take 20 minutes or two hours, depending on the age and tenderness of the meat.

This can be left to scoop off the fat when it cools. Add coriander  when you reheat, or about 30 seconds before you serve.

egg and lemon soup
 
You'll need:     
2 tbsp rice
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 egg yolks, or 3 eggs, beaten

Juice of 2 lemons

Method:
Cook the rice in the stock until tender.

Beat the eggs yolks or eggs with the lemon juice and pour it slowly into the hot stock, stirring all the time.

Note: If you use egg yolks without the whites, the soup will be thick; if you use whole eggs it will be slightly stringy and curdled. Both versions have their adherents.
 

Fabulous Fresh Pea Soup

 

Ridiculously easy to make and very tasty
 

You'll need:
1 kg bones, bacon, ham or chicken, or a ham hock
3 onions, halved
3 carrots
3 potatoes
3 cups fresh or frozen peas
1 tbsp sugar or honey (if using frozen peas)
3 tbsp butter (if bones are lean)

Water
 

Method:
Boil bones two hours in water. 
Remove bones. 
Remove any meat to add to the soup later. 
Add veg and butter if wanted. 
Simmer till potatoes are soft, no longer. 
Whizz with a stick blender till creamy. 
Add bits of meat from the bones. 
Freezes well but you will need to boil and stir as it separates till recooked.

Potato and Leek Soup

 

Again, creamy without cream. Also fast.

Bung in a pot:

4 potatoes, peeled and sliced

3 leeks, tough green bits chopped off and tough outer layers removed. If you have a blender, don’t chop. If you don’t, chop as finely as you can.

1 large container of chicken stock

Optional: 2 peeled and chopped carrots

 

Method:

Boil ten minutes.

Mash or blend.

This can be served hot or cold; each bowl can be sprinkled with finely chopped parsley.

You can also add a splodge of cream in the centre of each bowl just before serving.

rosehip soup
 

This is another good soup for sipping from a mug though it looks delightfully elegant in china bowls.
Most gardens have a rose bush or two lurking somewhere and, if you don't, there are sure to be some along the street, possibly where you can pluck them across the fence but if you see a gardener in residence, ask  – very few people would begrudge you their rose hips, unless of course they like rose hip soup too. (And yes, if you don't grow roses use rose hip teabags. It's easier and tastes reasonable.)
Pick your rose hips when they turn deep winter red and start to shrivel. Some are sweeter than others. If yours produce an anaemic gloop try again. (Don't pick briars sprayed with herbicide, or hips beside busy roads impregnated with lead from car exhausts.)
 

You'll need:
4 cups rose hips or 2 rose hip tea bags
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
a dessertspoon olive oil
2 cups chicken stock
4 cups water (2 if you are using tea bags)
 
Method:
Sauté the onion and garlic as slowly as possible in the oil till soft.
Steep the tea bags, or cover the rose hips with boiling water, cool, then reheat slowly till boiling. Simmer 10 minutes, cool and strain.
Pour the (hopefully) deep red liquid in with the onions and garlic; add the stock, simmer for two minutes.
Rose hips are rich in vitamin C, but by now they won't be. The taste though will be superb. Serve hot, in tiny portions, perfectly clear (this isn't borscht so don't add sour cream). A few finely chopped chives though go very well.  
Rose hip soup is warming, not sustaining.  Drink small cups when you're cold.

Curried Parsnip Soup

Exceptionally delicious

You'll need:

4 cups chicken, beef or veg stock, 3 tbsp olive oil

3 large parsnips

1 tbsp cream,

1 tsp curry paste

Method:

Peel and chop parsnips, fry in oil until pale - not dark - brown.  

Add curry.

Sauté for three minutes, stirring well.

Add to stock, simmer till soft, bung in blender.  

Reheat and add cream.

.

Hot or cold Asparagus soup

 

You'll need:

For the stock:

The tough bits of 12 bunches of asparagus

2 red or brown onions, with skin, sliced

3 tomatoes, with skin, chopped

12 cups water

 

Method for the stock:

Simmer till reduced by half.

Strain out liquid.

Keep sealed in the fridge or freezer.

 

You'll need:

For the soup:

The tender halves of 12 bunches asparagus
6 cups stock

6 tbsp chives, chopped

optional:

6 tbsp sour cream

1tbsp winter or summer savoury leaves

 

Method for the soup:

Method:

Cook asparagus in stock for 10 minutes.

Scoop out above half the asparagus.

Cool under cold water to stop cooking further.
Puree the remaining soup with a hand blender.

Chop remaining cooked asparagus.

Add to the soup with the chives and optional summer or winter savoury leaves.

Reheat, or chill if serving cold.

Serve with a dollop of slightly sour cream, and a further sprinkling of chopped chives.

Note: stock can be frozen, but not the soup – the asparagus turns watery.

.

© Jackie French