Pea and Ham Soup

This is a classic soup – so classic that I couldn’t find it in any recipe book. Apparently we are to learn how to make it as a hereditary skill. This recipe makes a huge vat of soup, but I don’t see how you could make much less.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large ham bone, ham hock, left-over cooked ham
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped into small chunks
  • 3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 3 potatoes, diced (optional)
  • 500g bag of yellow or green split peas – rinse the peas.
  • 1.5l stock (ham stock, chicken stock or vegetable stock)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 level tsp smoked paprika
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

  • In a large soup pan, fry the chopped onions and celery gently in the olive oil, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two longer
  • Add the carrots, peas, stock, ham, paprika and bay leaves to the pan, and bring to the boil.
  • Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and add water if it is becoming too thick.
  • If you are going to add potatoes, do so at this point, and simmer for another thirty minutes.
  • Remove the ham bone from the pan and set it aside to cool. Pull any meat off the bone, shred it and return it to the pan.
  • Season with salt and pepper if required, and heat to a simmer before serving.

If you want to freeze this soup, don’t add any potato. If you’d like a smoother soup, you can blend it with a soup wand before adding the shredded ham.

Spiced beetroot and tomato soup

I had two more large beetroot left, so I made this soup, adapted slightly from Madhur Jaffrey’s Eastern Vegetarian Cooking, which I bought in 1983s. The link is to a subsequent edition.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large beetroot, peeled and diced
  • 500ml water
  • butter
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, or a 2cm stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 level tsp ground black pepper
  • Sour cream or double cream

METHOD:

  • Cook the chopped beetroot in the water. Simmer for about an hour, to make sure the beetroot is really soft.
  • Drain the beetroot, and make the liquid up to 450ml if necessary.
  • Add the beetroot back to the liquor, along with the tin of chopped tomatoes and use the soup wand to liquidise
  • In a saucepan, fry the spices in butter, and then add the beetroot and tomatoes, and bring to a simmer.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Strain the soup through a coarse sieve to remove the whole spices, and then add the cream, and reheat.

Cauliflower and walnut soup

Initially, I wasn’t sure about this soup. It looks odd, but then I caught myself having extra portions. It is even better after being frozen, it seems to enhance the walnut flavour. It is worth spending some time reducing the walnuts to a paste before adding.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1 onion
  • 2 bayleaves
  • a pinch of paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • 450ml stock
  • 450ml skimmed milk
  • butter
  • 50g walnut pieces

METHOD:

  • Chop the onion finely and cook slowly in butter until soft and beginning to brown.
  • Chop the cauliflower into florets and boil in the stock with 2 bayleaves until tender, at least 10 minutes.
  • Remove the bayleaves, add a pinch of paprika, salt and pepper, and puree the cauliflower and stock until smooth. (I used a soup wand)
  • Grind the walnuts and pound to a fine paste in a pestle and mortar.
  • Add the cooked onions, ground walnuts and skimmed milk to the cauliflower base, and puree again.
  • Strain through a coarse sieve to remove any lumps.
  • Bring the mixture back to a simmer for two minutes before serving.

Turnip Soup

I have lots of turnips still standing in the garden, the last of the winter vegetables. They are fantastic things, yellow and spicy and fresh after a long winter. My only gripe about turnips is finding ways to cook them. Usually I mash them with potatoes, or, more recently, I have been dicing them and roasting them for 20 minutes in olive oil and pepper. Tonight I discovered why I had found so little in the way of recipes in my books and on the web: the English think they are swedes, and the French and the Americans seem to think they are called Rutabagas. Anyway, no matter what they are called, tonight I tried out this soup. It is from Lindsey Bareham’s incomparable recipe book, ‘A Celebration of Soup’.

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 75g organic butter
  • 2-3 shallots, finely chopped,
  • A bunch of parsley
  • 450g diced turnip (about one large, or 2 small), home grown
  • salt and pepper
  • 1.1 litres of rich stock (I used some game stock, but ‘Marigold’ stock is fine
  • A pinch of saffron, if available (optional)
  • 100ml double cream

Method:

  • Heat the butter in a large pan, and soften the shallots in the butter for about five minutes
  • Add the parsley stalks (or dried herbs, if fresh parsley is scarce) and the turnip along with a pinch of salt. Stir, and make sure everything gets well coated in butter.
  • Cover the pan and simmer on low for about fifteen minutes.
  • At this stage, the turnip is tender and sweet and could be served as a vegetable dish in its own right.
  • For to make the soup, add the stock and saffron, bring to the boil, and simmer for 30 minutes
  • Blend the soup with a soup wand, and reheat.
  • To serve, whisk the cream with the finely chopped parsley, and swirl into the soup.

I served it with brown toast. However, you could make croutons, and the book suggests polenta chips: small slivers of cooked polenta, coated in oil and grilled to create a crunchy exterior. Very good indeed.

Butterbean and tomato soup

This is a very easy recipe, can’t recall where it is from. I usually have these ingredients in the house, so I can usually make this.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can butter beans
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 pints of stock
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • olive oil or butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp honey or sugar
  • chopped parsley to serve

METHOD:

  • Gently cook the onions in the olive oil until well cooked, very soft.
  • Add the beans, stock, tomatoes, bayleaf and then simmer the soup for half an hour
  • Season to taste, with the salt, pepper, honey.

Serve with brown toast and garnished with chopped parsley

 

Harira

This is a delicious lamb soup with chickpeas, one of those ‘meal in a bowl’ soups. I’ve made a few versions over the years, with mint as the main herb on one occasion. This version is the best, and it is from the Moro cookbook. I highly recommend this book, the recipes are delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 350g Lamb (lamb neck, chops, shank, on the bone)
  • 2 litres cold water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 sticks of celery, chopped,
  • a pinch of saffron strands
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 5 grates of nutmeg
  • a bunch of fresh coriander leaves
  • 100g green lentils (optional)
  • 1 can of chickpeas in water
  • 1 dessertspoon of tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp of plain flour, blended into 2 tbsp of butter
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Put the lamb in a large pan with the water, and bring to the boil, skimming off any foam that forms. Simmer for five minutes or so while you chop the other ingredients
  • Add the chopped onion, celery, garlic, and the saffron, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, salt and pepper and half of the bunch of fresh coriander leaves, chopped.
  • Simmer for half an hour, then add the lentils and tinned chickpeas, including the chickpea water. Simmer for another half an hour.
  • Remove the meat from the pan, and let it cool, while you add the tomato puree, lemon juice and the flour mixture. Season with plenty of salt and pepper.
  • Shred or chop the meat well, and add back to the pan. Continue to cook until the chickpeas are properly tender.
  • Serve garnished with the rest of the chopped coriander.

Kohl rabi soup

This recipe can be made vegan, or not so vegan.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 kohlrabi, well peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 litre vegetable stock
  • 1/2 litre water
  • 100g cashew nuts OR 200ml double cream
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • a good pinch of white ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 potatoes
  • chilli flakes
  • olive oil

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a large pan and gently fry the onions for around 10 minutes, until soft.
  • Add the crushed garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, and then add the kohlrabi.
  • Add the stock, water, herbs, salt and pepper, and the nuts if you are using them. Simmer for at least 20 minutes (I watched ‘It takes two’ strictly come dancing for the duration).
  • Dice the potatoes and steam until tender
  • Remove the bayleaves and puree with a soup wand. Add the cream now if you are using this.

Serve in warmed bowls with the potatoes, and garnish with olive oil and chilli flakes.

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Jerusalem artichokes grow well in the Uists, and they are delicious. Two words of warning – they tend to come back every year in the plot. They give me bad wind.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 100g butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 kg jerusalem artichokes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 litre of stock
  • 300ml milk, or milk/cream

METHOD:

  • Melt half the butter and gently cook the onion until soft.
  • Add the celery, jerusalem artichokes, and garlic, season with a pinch of salt, put the lid on the pan and cook gently for another couple of minutes
  • Pour on the stock, bring to the boil, and then simmer until all the vegetables are soft.
  • Puree, then add the milk, bring to a simmer and season to taste. Add more water if the soup is too thick.
  • Whisk in the rest of the butter, and serve with a garnish of toasted nuts or croutons

Ginger and Lettuce soup

Good for when you have bought the cheap veg in the co-op, and you don’t want a salad after all.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 onions, chopped small
  • 2 carrots, chopped small
  • 25g butter
  • 1 iceberg lettuce (or similar)
  • 1 cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 6 sprigs of parsley
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 litre of stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 50ml cream

METHOD:

  • Gently cook the onions and carrots in the butter until soft.
  • Turn up the heat and add the lettuce, ginger and parsley until they wilt, and then add the flour, stirring well.
  • Pour in the stock, and simmer for five minutes or so, until it starts to thicken.
  • Puree the soup, and then pour it through a fine sieve into a clean pan. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Reheat the soup, and serve with the cream swirled through, and with croutons.

Curried Parsnip Soup

The famous Jane Grigson recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 very large parsnip, chopped
  • 1 potato, chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 heaped tsp madras curry powder
  • 1.1 litres beef or vegetable stock
  • 1.1 litres water (approx)
  • salt and pepper
  • 150ml cream
  • chopped herbs

METHOD:

  • Gently cook the onion, garlic, potato and parsnip in the butter in a large saucepan. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour and curry powder, and continue to stir and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the stock, and bring to the boil, and simmer for around half an hour.
  • Puree the soup, and dilute to taste with the water, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Reheat and add the cream, and serve with chopped herbs as a garnish, and with bread and butter.