A Quick and Easy Supper Recipe for All the Family
Having a good batch of soup on the go during these cold winter months must be one of the simplest and most nutritious supper suggestions for the family. As well as this, kids love it as they can dip their bread into it, which is obviously much more fun than just using a spoon and adults can pretend that all the bread and cheese that is eaten alongside it is cancelled out because soup is just vegetables, right? Well, I am sure you can appreciate my well-considered rationale and won’t burst my bubble.
A long time ago I came to realise, although you can pretty much just chuck any old vegetables into a pan with some stock from the tap and blitz into a soup of sorts, that with a little consideration you can effortlessly make a delicious bowl of flavour to savour.
By using similarly coloured vegetables, you avoid the inevitable brown slop, which although tastes ok, isn’t so appealing to the eye. My soups therefore tend to be classified as either an orange, green, cream or red soup and follow the following formula:
The Base: celery and onion – white, red or leek depending on which colour vegetable you are staring
The Starch: potato, lentils, beans, pasta
The Veg: no more than 2 varieties and they should be the stars of the bowl so that you can distinguish the intended flavour
The Spice: something to add a kick
The Herb: to add some freshness
The Liquid: either from the tap or some stock if your prefer
The Garnish: I will drizzle some good olive oil over the top 99% of the time, with some freshly ground black pepper, but depending on the flavour some shavings or chunks of cheese, chopped herbs, some seeds, some homemade croutons of varying flavours, a dollop of crème fraiche, some crispy bacon bits will work. I also refer to this as my ‘treat’ item to add a different texture or bite!
This one is an orange soup which is well accompanied with some ciabatta and a hunk of my fave cheese of the moment, dolcelatte. We have also become quite partial to Ryvita Multi-Seed Thins as an alternative vehicle for cheese. They are definitely worth a try.
Makes approx 6 bowls
Prep in 15 minutes, cooks in 25 minutes
Ingredients and suggested quantities:
1 knob of butter and a drizzle of olive oil
1 small white onion, finely diced
2 sticks of celery, finely diced
1 handful of diced sweet potato
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 handful coriander, chopped
1 pt water from the tap, approx
2 spring onion, cut diagonally into thin slices
1. Melt a knob of butter with a drizzle of oil in a large pan on the hob on a high heat. Sweat the onions and celery in the pan for a few minutes before adding the sweet potato, carrots and butternut squash
2. When they are starting to colour, season with salt and pepper and chuck in the chilli and coriander. Stir on a high heat for a few more minutes, then pour in the water so that it covers the veg by about an inch and reduce the heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes
3. When the carrots, squash and potato are tender blitz the contents of the pan in batches until smooth. Return the soup to a pan on a low heat. Now is your opportunity to alter the consistency of the soup if it is too thick for you. Add more water a little at a time until you are happy
4. When the soup is gently bubbling, remove from the heat and serve in bowls. Drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with the spring onion slices
This soup can be kept for about 3 days in the fridge and could also be frozen if you wanted.
I appreciate that ‘fresh’ soup is very easily accessible in supermarkets now, and come in handy little portion controlled cartons, and I will not pretend that I have not been seduced by the convenience of them from time to time. However there is a difference between ‘fresh’ and knowing exactly what ingredients are in your homemade soup, and that difference makes me feel content as my family tucks into a bowl of colourful soup. From a cost perspective, this one is literally pennies per portion and therefore a winner in my book. Enjoy xx