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Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category

Winter minestrone

We’re never in our own house for Christmas as we travel up north to be with family. That doesn’t stop us on insisting that the stock left in the pot in which the ham was cooked, goes into the freezer ready for us to take home and make minestrone with. The perfect foil for all the over-indulgence in the days preceding.

Winter Minestrone – serves 6

  • 500g cavolo nero, remove any thicker stalks and shred thickly
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced, with a few leaves
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g pumpkin/squash flesh, peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
  • 1 potato
  • 400g cooked white beans – we used a tin of cannellini beans
  • 1.5 litres of ham stock, water or bean broth (if you’ve cooked dried beans)
  • A parmesan rind (always good to keep in the fridge to add extra depth of flavour to soups)
  • A small sprig of sage
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, to serve

Wash the cavolo nero, strip any particularly thick stems from the leaves and roughly chop. Roll up the leaves and shred thickly.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan and slowly fry the onion and celery with a pinch of salt, until soft, about 8 minutes.

Add the pumpkin/squash to the pan along with the cavolo nero stems and a tiny pinch of salt, stirring until each chunk glistens with oil. Add half the cavolo nero leaves, half the beans, the water and the parmesan rind.

Turn up the heat so the soup is almost boiling, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Five minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the rest of the cavolo nero and beans. Taste and season, then add the chopped sage. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes, then serve with some freshly grated Parmesan.

(Original recipe by Rachel Roddy in The Guardian24th November 2017.)

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Potato soup

An invaluable recipe especially in Ireland as we always seem to have surplus potatoes lying around. This is what we cook when ‘there’s no food in the house’ and it’s pretty good.

Potato and fresh herb soup – serves 6

  • 50g butter
  • 425g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 110g onions, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped herbs: parsley, thyme, chives
  • 850ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 125ml creamy milk

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Wait until it starts to foam, then add the potatoes and onions and stir to coat in the butter. Add the salt and some black pepper. Cover with a butter wrapper or some greaseproof paper and the saucepan lid. Sweat gently for about 10 minutes while you bring the stock to the boil in a separate pan.

When the vegetables are softened but not coloured, add the herbs and stock, then continue to cook until the vegetables are completely soft. Whizz the soup until smooth and season to taste. Thin with some creamy milk if necessary and garnish with some more herbs.

(Original recipe from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course, Kyle Cathie Ltd., 2001.)

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Swedish spinach and butterball soup

We loved this spinach soup with and without the melting butterballs, which are a nice addition but by no means essential. Green soup makes us feel good about ourselves (even if there is some cream and butter in it).

Swedish spinach soup with egg butterballs – serves 6

FOR THE BUTTERBALLS:

  • 115g butter
  • yolks of 3 hard-boiled eggs

FOR THE SOUP:

  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 40g long-grain white rice
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 500g spinach
  • 150ml double cream
  • juice of ½ lemon

To make the butterballs, mash the butter and egg yolks together and season with salt and black pepper. Roll into 2.5cm balls, then cover with clingfilm and put into your fridge.

To make the soup, melt the butter in a large saucepan and sweat the onion over a low heat with the lid on for about 10 minutes or until soft but not coloured. Add a splash of water if the pan looks dry. Add the rice and stock and bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Add the spinach and push down into the pan with a wooden spoon as it wilts. Bring to the boil, season and cook for 6 minutes, stirring, then cool.

Whizz the soup until smooth, then add the cream. Return to a saucepan to heat and add a squeeze of lemon juice and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve hot with the melting butterballs on top.

(Original recipe from Food From Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2011.)

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Carrot & cumin soup

It seems to be getting more and more difficult to buy a carrot, with supermarkets in particular insisting that you buy a huge bag. Why can’t we be like France and just have troughs of veg for us to pick what we need from? This is a suitable end for almost a whole bag of carrots.

Carrot & Cumin Soup – serves 6

  • 35g butter
  • 600g carrots, chopped
  • 110g onion, chopped
  • 150g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 2 tsp freshly roasted and crushed cumin seeds
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1.2 litres light chicken or vegetable stock
  • a little creamy milk (optional)
  • crème fraîche or yoghurt (to garnish)
  • coriander leaves, chopped

Melt the butter until foaming, then add the chopped vegetables. Season with salt, pepper and sugar and add the crushed cumin. Cover with a butter paper and a tight fitting lid. Leave to sweat over a low heat for about 10 minutes.

Remove the lid, add the stock and boil until the vegetables or soft – about 5 to 8 minutes, then purée the soup until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Serve in warm bowls with a swirl of crème fraîche or yoghurt if you like and some freshly chopped coriander.

(Original recipe from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course, Kyle Cathie Ltd., 2001.)

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Wild mushroom soup

Make this with wild mushrooms while you get them but it also works well with ordinary chestnut mushrooms.

Wine Suggestion: an old favourite with mushrooms for us is complex and nutty Oloroso sherry. The best are round and rich while remaining dry but if you have one with a touch of sweetness it should work just as well too.

If sherry is not your style then a lighter, earthy red like the Höpler Pannonica red, a blend of Zweigelt, Blaufrankisch and Pinot Noir from Burgenland in Austria is a good pick. Earthy and spices this wine has character and presence while remaining medium bodied and fresh.

Creamy Mushroom Soup – serves 4

  • 25g dried porcini (ceps)
  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • thyme sprigs
  • 400g mixed wild mushrooms or chestnut mushrooms
  • 850ml vegetable stock
  • 200ml tub crème fraîche
  • 4 slices white bread, about 100g, cubed
  • chopped chives

Put the dried porcini in a bowl and pour over boiling water to just cover.

Heat 25g of the butter in a saucepan and gently cook the onion, garlic & thyme for about 5 minutes or until softened and starting to brown.

Drain the porcini (keep the liquid) then add to the onion along with the fresh mushrooms. Leave to cook for another 5 minutes. Add the stock and the reserved mushroom juice (discard any grit at the bottom), bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Add the crème fraîche and simmer for another few minutes then whizz with a hand blender (or similar device) before passing through a fine sieve.

Heat the remaining butter in a frying pan, fry the bread cubes until golden, then drain on kitchen paper. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle over the croûtons and chives.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Asparagus & Prosciutto soup

Another favourite from the River Café where the prosciutto gives a big addition to the flavour. Serve with a few asparagus tips and top quality olive oil on top. Delicious!

Wine suggestion: Sauvignon Blanc with bags of  flavour. Something like the Dog Point from New Zealand or the Dezat Sancerre from the Loire will work great. Going slightly off-piste we love the Domaine Bellier Cheverny Blanc which combines 85% Sauvignon Blanc with Chardonnay in a un-sung appellation from the Loire, a really good food wine.

Asparagus & prosciutto soup – serves 4

  • 500g asparagus
  • 140g prosciutto slices, sliced into thin ribbons
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 140g spinach
  • Marigold Swiss bouillon powder dissolved with 750ml of boiling water
  • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil

Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and cut the remaining stalks into short lengths. Keep the tips to one side.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a heavy-based pan, add the onion and soften for 5 minutes, then add the prosciutto, potatoes, parsley and asparagus stalks. Season with pepper (hold off on the salt until the end as the ham is salty) and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, then add the bouillon and simmer until the potatoes and asparagus are tender – about 15 minutes. Add the spinach and most of the asparagus tips and cook for a another few minutes. Remove from the heat and blend to a rough purée.

Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil and fry the reserved tips for a few seconds. Serve the soup with the asparagus and oil drizzled over each bowl.

(Original recipe from Italian Two Easy by Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers, Clarkson Potter, 2006.)

 

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Winter vegetable and bean soup with Kabanossi

A really nice soup with or without the Kabanossi sausage (so you can leave this out if you like) though it does add an extra layer of  smoky flavour. Most supermarkets stock Kabanossi sausages near the salami and other dried sausages.

Winter vegetable & bean soup with Kabanossi sausage – serves 8 to 9 (freezes well)

  • 225g rindless streaky bacon, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 225g onions, chopped
  • 275g carrot, cut into 5mm dice
  • 125g parsnips, cut into 5mm dice
  • 200g white part of 1 leek, cut into 5mm slices
  • 1 Kabanossi sausage (optional), cut into 5mm slices
  • 1 x 400g tin of good-quality tomatoes (Italian brands are good)
  • 225g haricot beans, soaked and cooked (see note at end)
  • 1.8 litres home-make chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Blanch the bacon, refresh and dry well with paper towels. (To do this y0u need to cover with cold water, then bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes before draining into a sieve and rinsing with cold water. This process removes some of the saltiness.)

Put a large saucepan over a medium heat and warm the olive oil. Add the bacon and sauté until crisp and golden, then add the onion, carrots and celery. Cover the pan and sweat for 5 minutes, then add the parsnip and leeks. Cover again and continue to sweat for another 5 minutes.

If you are using the Kabanossi sausage add it now. Chop the tomatoes roughly in the tin and add to the vegetables with the cooked beans. Season with salt, pepper and sugar, then add the stock. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are cooked. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with lots of brown bread & butter.

To prepare the haricot beans

Soak the beans overnight in plenty of cold water. Drain the beans and cover with fresh cold water, add a bouquet garni (a bay leaf, sprig of parsley & spring of thyme tied with string), a carrot and an onion, then cover and simmer until the beans are soft. This will take between 30 minutes and 1 hour depending on the age of your beans. It’s important to check them often and stop cooking before they turn mushy. Season with salt when the beans are almost cooked. Drain and discard the vegetable and bouquet garni.

(Original recipe from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course, Kyle Cathie Ltd., 2001.)

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