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.

Red cabbage and cannellini bean stew

I have been experimenting with this stew, and have come up with variations that are vegan, vegetarian or just general. I’ll leave it for you to decide how to go about it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 25g pancetta, (optional)
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small or half a large red cabbage
  • 2 cans tinned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 tsp chopped sage leaves (optional)
  • 1 can borlotti beans or cannellini beans
  • 1.75 litres of stock (vegetable or beef)

METHOD:

  • In a large pan, heat the olive oil and add the pancetta, onions, garlic, carrots and celery, and fry gently until the vegetables start to brown slightly.
  • Add the cabbage, tomatoes and thyme, stir and cook until the cabbage is tender.
  • Add the stock, the can of beans including liquid, 1 tsp salt and a good amount of black pepper, as well as the other herbs. Cook over a very low heat for two hours, keeping a check to make sure it is not sticking.
  • Once the stew is cooked, check for seasoning, and add extra stock if it seems to need it.

This recipe is based on several others, some of which use Italian black kale, luganega pork sausage, omit the sage, etcetera. Please experiment.

Crecy Soup

This is one of my stand-by recipes, a lovely buttery soup. The type of rice used can be varied, and I have made up the weight of carrots with other root vegetables in the past. The stock can also be varied, as can the garnish. The thyme is an important flavour though, don’t mess with the thyme. Very flexible.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 75g butter
  • 250g carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 25g rice
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 700ml stock (vegetable, chicken or beef)
  • Garnish, could be chopped chives, parsley, chervil etc.

METHOD:

  • In a saucepan, melt 50g of the butter, and add the onion and carrots and a pinch of salt and pepper. Put the lid on the pan, and cook very gently for 10 minutes or so.
  • Add the rice, thyme and stock, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the thyme sprig and puree the soup. Reheat, check the seasoning, and whisk the last of the butter into the soup.
  • Garnish with chopped herbs, and serve with croutons

Parsnip soup with ginger

A colleague was eating the most divine soup in the staffroom at work. I asked her what it was, and she replied that it was one of her stand-by recipes, parsnip and ginger. I have a recipe for parsnip soup, so I took that, mixed it with a recipe I already had and made this delicious spicy smooth soup.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 15g butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3cm ginger root, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 500g bag of parsnips, (Misshapen parsnips v cheap in the shops at the moment)
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (you can also use beef stock if you are not vegetarian)
  • 1 small tub low calorie sour cream
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter into the olive oil and slowly cook the chopped onions for ten minutes
  • Add the chopped ginger and garlic, continue cooking
  • Add the spices, and stir to incorporate
  • Dice the parsnips and add to the pan, stir and then add the stock, and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Puree the soup, season to taste, and blend in the sour cream.

There are so many ways to make parsnip soup. You could serve with bacon croutons, or sprinkle with chives, or toasted seeds. You can swap the stock around, substitute some of the parsnip for potato etcetera. I will post the curried parsnip soup another time.

 

Polenta Rustica

This is a fantastic quick recipe, and I just made the best yet. I got the recipe called ‘The Quick After-Work Vegetarian Cookbook’ – last recipe in the book. I have adapted it to make it easier.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 225g polenta (fine, quick-cook)
  • 1.2 L water
  • 150g soft blue cheese (the original recipe says 50g Gorgonzola and 75g Taleggio, or Fontina, or brie)
  • 50g butter
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Bring the water to a boil, and then pour in the polenta in a thin stream, to avoid it clumping when it hits the water. Keep stirring the water around so the polenta mixes in with the water evenly. Keep stirring and cooking, and in a few minutes the mixture turns into a thick porridge.
  • Add the diced cheese, and as soon as it has melted, add the butter, salt and pepper. Stir it all together.

This is good with a savoury lentil stew, or with a fennel salad. If you let it get cold, it can be sliced, and then grilled the next day.

Courgette and tomato soup

I got this recipe from Lindsay Bareham’s book, ‘A Celebration of Soup‘ – which is a classic.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 225g courgettes, diced
  • 450g tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 small potatoes, peeled, diced and rinsed
  • 1.1L boiling water
  • 100g broad beans
  • 40g pasta (small pasta, broken pasta)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • basil leaves
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaved parsley

METHOD:

  • Heat the olive oil and gently cook the sliced onions, so that they get very soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Add the diced courgettes, and cook gently for another 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, peel and chop all but 2 of the tomatoes, and soften with the other ingredients in the pot.
  • Once the tomatoes have cooked in, add the diced potato and hot water, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the beans and the pasta, and the seasoning.
  • While all of this is going on, grill the reserved tomatoes, skin them and remove the seeds.
  • In a mortar, pulverise the garlic, adding the tomatoes, basil and then the egg yolks, to make a smooth paste like mayonnaise.
  • When the pasta is cooked, take a ladleful of soup, and beat it into the egg mixture, then pour this back into the soup pan, stirring all the time.
  • Just before serving, stir in the parmesan, and garnish with chopped parsley.

Broccoli and cheese soup

Still in catch-up mode – 10 years of recipes to put back onto the site. This is an oldie and a goodie. It can be made using cooked brussel sprouts as well. The cheese thickens the soup and makes it so smooth.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Sprig of tarragon, chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1.75 litres of stock
  • 700g broccoli, cooked
  • 175g grated cheese, cheddar or similar
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley (could substitute chive flowers, or other herb garnish)

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter and fry the onion until soft, 5 minutes at least
  • Add the tarragon, potatoes, salt and pepper, mix and add enough stock to cover the ingredients.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the cooked broccoli and the rest of the stock. Bring the soup back to the boil, and then use a soup blender to liquidise, until it is completely smooth.
  • Stir in the grated cheese and herbs, and heat through without boiling, before serving.