A chunky veg soup to beat the January blues

sam_7884As I’d said in my previous blog post, I’ve been ill, suffering from the “queens cold”, named as such cos apparently her Madge suffered from it first. I’ve been told this was not a cold but not the flu but in between the two. Although, I’m not convinced this is what it was for me as I have a low immune system so it could have just been a cold that I’ve struggled to fight off.

One thing I’m sure about is when you feel rubbish you can not beat a bowl of homemade soup, of any kind. The only requirement for me is that it’s gotta be homemade, gotta be hot and full of chunky pieces of veg or lentils or barley or all of these! I love a spoonful of veg!

To be honest I probably don’t need to put up a recipe for soup, soup is so easy to make  and I’m sure everyone knows how and also has their own favourite recipe but here we go …..the soup that I’m pretty sure helped to cure me!

Ingredients

Mix of one organic leek, one onion, one carrot , 1/2 left over potato , 1/2 head of celeriac and a very non organic broccoli (1/4 of a head). Basically it was a mix of whatever veg I had left over, hence the 1/4 of a head of broccoli and 1/2 a potato along with some veg freshly dug by my lovely hubby. This is the beauty of veg soup, you can use whatever veg you want to or whatever you need to use up, but I always find the more veg the merrier.

The exact measurement of a handful of Barley ( my freakishly small hand so probably about 50 grams!)

Couple of slices of unsmoked Scottish bacon

One chicken stock cube ( or whatever stock cube you have to hand, I’ve used all types) dissolved in about 2 pints of boiling water.

In an ideal world you’ll also have saved and frozen the stock from boiling a ham or a chicken carcass or you’ll have planned ahead bought turkey legs to make a stock from. Although its rarely an ideal world for me, so bacon and stock cubes are a great alternative.

Method

Chop the bacon and fry in a wee bit of oil in a large pan. Once cooked remove from the pan and leave to one side. Do not clean the pan or pour out the bacon fat.

Whilst the bacon is cooking, prepare your veg e.g finely chop onions and leeks and chop the potatoes, celeriac and carrots into cubes.

Add the onions and leeks into the pan, saute for about 10 -15 minutes or until softened. Then add the remaining veg and continue to saute. The longer you leave the veg to saute the better flavour it will have.

Add the stock to the veg and simmer. I simmer on low heat for a long time ( about 1 hour) but carefully watch the soup as you may need to add more water/ stock depending on how thick you like your soup. If you sick ill, as in not able to eat and not able to hold much down I would recommend having fewer veg and having more of a liquid broth/ soup. But I love soup so thick that your spoon stays upright in it and every spoonful is full of lovely veg.

Add salt and pepper.

Cook the barley as per packet instructions, which in this case I had to wash them then boiled them separately before then adding to the soup pan.

I added the broccoli towards the end as it didn’t need much boiling, however the florets did break up ( as you can see in the photo above).

The soup will provide you with much needed sustenance and strength. It’s so comforting just curl up on the sofa under a warm cosy blanket and enjoy.

Oh and don’t forget the bacon, add a sprinkle on top of the soup.

 

Spring Soup- Pea and Mint

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Gloriously green!

 

Soup I normally associate with Winter. Soup is something comforting, something to warm you up after a cold day outside. Pea and Mint soup, however I always associate with Spring. Why? I’m not sure. It could be the vivid green colour that reminds me of the colours of nature that come with Spring or it could be the refreshing mint taste.

Given we had a big bag of Frozen Peas to use up, I decided to make a batch of Pea and Mint Soup for supper for two nights. This recipe will give 4 servings.

Ingredients

4 slices of unsmoked bacon cut into small pieces (I used Scottish unsmoked dry cure bacon from Simon Howie), 1/2 Organic onion ( just because this was requiring to be used up) peeled and chopped, 2 Organic Carrots peeled and chopped, 2 celery stalks chopped, 4 cups of chicken stock, roughly 5 cups of frozen peas, 1 cup of mint chopped, salt and pepper, 1/2 cup of crème fraiche, olive or vegetable oil.

Add a splash of oil to a large pan and put on medium heat. Whilst waiting for the oil to warm up, prepare the vegetables and slice or cut the bacon into small pieces. Once the oil has warmed up add the bacon and fry until cooked and slightly crispy ( or what ever is your preference for bacon). Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan and set aside in a bowl.

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Leave the bacon juices and oil in the pan and add the chopped onions, saute for a few minutes until the onions turn brown. Add the carrots and celery to the pan and cook until the veg starts to soften. Add the 4 cups of chicken stock to the pan and bring to a boil for about 8-10 minutes.  Add the peas and cook for a further 3 minutes.

 

Take off the heat, add the mint and stir.Then add the mixture to a blender. I had to do this in two batches. Once all the mixture was blended I returned the soup to the pan and added salt and pepper to taste or you could leave this out for it to be added later at the table to individual tastes.  Add 1/2 cup of crème fraiche.to the soup and stir to combine. Then serve.

I served this with French bread, baked camembert cheese, celery sticks and caramelised pecans. The recipe for the caramelised pecans came from the frugalhausfrau which I added paprika to.

I completely forgot, in my haste to devour this soup, to take a photo of it plated up. Will update after tomorrow nights supper!