Soup season is here, aka winter
. With lots of warm southerlies recently blowing straight from Egypt
(just 300nm away) that heartwarming hit hasn't been quite as essential as usual, but a bowl generally makes its way onto the menu most nights at this time of year.
For any "non cook", soup would have to be the easiest and most fool proof thing to make. It does improve if you sauté any garlic cloves or onions first, but this is not essential so don't let this step phase you. Just throw a couple in with whatever chopped veg take your fancy to half fill a pot (let your imagination run wild or reach for whatever you have on hand), add stock, possibly a tin of tomatoes or some concentrate, herbs or spices, and for a decent hit of low fat protein include lentils or cooked chickpeas or beans (tinned will do), then cook until veg are soft. A pressure cooker works brilliantly for this. Just bring it to pressure, turn off the heat and let it sit an hour or so.
Using homemade stock makes a big difference only when the broth features as in French Onion or Chicken Noodle soup, otherwise stock cubes are fine. To retain the bright green colour of greens, add these at the end and simmer just long enough to cook. Season to taste when done. Hot sauce or coconut cream etc can really lift
the final result. Like most stews and casseroles the flavours improve with standing.
For those of you who are not fans of veggies or pulses, pureed soup is the least painful way to get a good dose of goodness particularly if you disguise it with toppings such as shaved cheese, grilled bacon or prosciutto, buttery croutons, fresh herbs and nuts
. I would say nothing warms you up faster or feels more comforting (food wise that is
) in winter than soup.
Tonight's treat was a very filling bean and mushroom combo. With garlic and rosemary studded warm focaccia it made a meal in itself:
WHITE BEAN & MUSHROOM SOUP
(=haricot) or cannellini beans
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
700g mushrooms (white or brown or portobello)
another 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 onions, peeled and chopped
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
4 mugs water
2 stock cubes
1 heaped tablespoon fresh oregano leaves (or thyme or sage)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
200 ml milk of choice (or a carton of cream)
pistachio or pine nuts
- Soak beans overnight
- Drain, cover with water and bring to pressure
- Turn off heat and leave to sit for an hour
- Drain beans and put aside
- Sauté mushrooms and put aside
- Sauté garlic and onion until soft
- Add potato, water, stock cubes, herbs, pepper and beans
- Bring to pressure, turn off heat and leave at least half an hour
- Puree with stick mixer
- Add mushrooms and milk/cream
- Dilute if needed with extra milk
- Serve sprinkled with basil (or parsley or coriander) and pistachio or pine nuts.
Perfect with crusty, hot garlic bread or focaccia or bruschetta or ....
This recipe has been added to the index in post#1.