I think Soup is one of the most versatile dishes to cook. You can have it as a starter or a main meal, for lunch, to warm you up when it’s cold, or when you want something light when it’s hot. Almost any ingredient can be made into a Soup and most are so easy to make. A lot of Soups use potatoes as a natural thickener which is also a healthy option. Any vegetable can make great Soup as you will see with the Beetroot recipe below. Maybe you like your Soup chunky or prefer it liquidized for a smooth finish. Either is fine. I recommend trying the Butternut Squash Soup below as the orange and ginger really bring something different to, what could be a bland flavour.
Orange, Ginger & Butternut Squash Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 or 2 potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
- 675 g butternut squash, seeds removed and cubed
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 600ml vegetable stock
- 100ml orange juice
- Salt and black pepper
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions to the pan and fry until softened, but not coloured. Tip in the butternut squash, add the potato and the ginger. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the stock and orange juice and simmer for about 30 minutes until the squash is tender. Leave the soup to cool slightly, before puréeing with a hand blender until smooth. Season to taste, reheat if necessary and serve.
- Small potato, peeled and finely chopped
- 300ml vegetable stock
- ¼ Savoy cabbage, chopped
- 25g/1oz toasted peanuts, to garnish
Place the potato and stock into a saucepan over a high heat. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for seven minutes. Add the cabbage and continue to simmer for six minutes until the cabbage is cooked and the potatoes are soft.
To serve, pour the soup into a bowl and finish with a sprinkling of peanuts.
Vichyssoise or Leek and Potato Soup
- 25g butter
- 2 medium leeks peeled and chopped
- 1 small onion peeled and chopped
- 350g potatoes peeled and chopped
- 600ml chicken stock
- 150ml single cream
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh chives or watercress for garnish
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the leeks and onion and cook gently without browning. Add the peeled and chopped potatoes with the stock and seasoning. Bring to boil and simmer very gently for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then sieve or purée in a processor until smooth. Chill completely. To serve, stir in cream and sprinkle with chives or watercress.
500g cooked beetroot cut into chunks
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 750ml vegetable stock
- Croutons – either buy them ready made or make your own by frying slices of bread and cutting them into small squares.
In a large saucepan, sweat the onion gently in the olive oil until it softens. This will take around 10 minutes – be careful not to burn the onions, you are not trying to caramelize them. When the onions are soft, add the crushed garlic to the pan and gently fry for a further minute and then add the beetroot, stock and balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes. Using a liquidiser or stick blender, blend the soup until really smooth. Keep warm whilst you finish the croutons. Pour the soup in bowls and serve immediately.
Cream of Asparagus Soup
- 550gm fresh asparagus spear
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 tblsp unsalted butter
- 750ml chicken stock
- 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme (or fresh thyme)
- 150ml cream
- Freshly ground white pepper
Soak and rinse asparagus. Remove top 1 inch of each spear, discard tough lower part and reserve middle portion of stalks. In a medium sized saucepan, over medium heat, sauté onion in butter for 3-5 minutes or until translucent. Add chicken stock, asparagus tips and stems, potato, celery, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and let cool. Remove asparagus tips and set aside. Place half of the soup at a time in a blender. Blend at high speed for 20-30 seconds or until very smooth and return blended soup to saucepan. Add reserved asparagus tips and cream and heat thoroughly, or refrigerate to be served cold.