Tuesday, 1 January 2013

My Basic Soup Technique

My mum got me an amazing immersion blender for Christmas & I am a bit obsessed with it. I used to have a very cheap one that I got for a fiver in BHS a few years ago in a sale but it broke a few months ago so I asked for one this year for Christmas. Since I got it I have not stopped making soup! It's basically the easiest thing in the world to make, is super cheap, so delicious & really healthy so I might just not eat anything else ever again.

I'm sure there are really fancy, complicated ways to make soup, (I read in a cookbook about skimming it?!? No idea...) & I am probably doing it wrong, but I am going to share my basic soup technique with you anyway, plus a couple of different flavours I made.

To make soup you will need:
An immersion (stick) blender or a regular kind of blender.
A big pot.
Lots of vegetables

  1. I always start with an onion, garlic & some olive oil in my pot. I chop the onion really fine & crush the garlic (although I have been using the food processor attachment that came with my blender- so handy). Cook it on a high heat on the hob until the onion goes clear.
  2. Then I add my other vegetables. Things like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, squash, etc that can take a while to cook, I like to roast first to get them soft. Other veg like leeks, beans, broccoli, tomatoes etc can just go straight in the pot. I tend not to weigh anything but rather just fill my pot with veg until it is just over half full. Roughly, I would guess that if I am putting three types of veg in one pot it would be about 2 cups of each type of vegetable. The more veg you have the more soup you will end up with.
  3. I cook all my veg until it is soft & then I add my stock. You can use the best quality stock you can afford. I have used fancy stock before, and I would like to try making my own at some point too, but mostly I just use stock cubes. If you do use cubes then I wouldn't really recommend adding any extra salt as they tend to be quite salty already. Make up the stock according to the instructions & pour over your veg until it just covers it.
  4. Cover & simmer on a medium-low heat for about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Take soup off the heat & let it cool a bit & then blend away! Be careful not to splash or burn yourself (I always do though because I am too impatient to let the soup cool- oops.) If the soup is too thick then just add a bit more stock & give it another quick whizz.
Soup in 5 easy steps!

Broccoli, Courgette & Broad Bean Soup
Serves 6

1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
250g frozen broccoli
200g frozen broad beans
2 medium courgettes, roughly chopped
1 lemon
1L vegetable stock

  1. On the hob- cook the onion & garlic in the olive oil on a high heat until onion goes clear.
  2. Add frozen broad beans & frozen broccoli- cook for about 10-15 minutes or until they begin to mostly thaw.
  3. Add the courgettes & cook for another 10 minutes.
  4. Slice the lemon in half- peel & de-seed one half, roughly chop it and add to pot.
  5. Add the stock, cover & simmer for 20-30 minutes or until all veg is cooked & soft.
  6. Remove from heat, allow to cool & blend! Blend until mostly smooth but not entirely, this soup is best with a slightly rough texture & a few whole beans here & there.
  7. Juice the other half of the lemon & stir through soup.

Spicy Carrot & Harissa Soup
Serves 6

9 medium-ish sized carrots, roughly chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1L stock
0.5-1 tsp dried chili flakes, depending on how spicy you want your soup.
2 tsp harissa paste
1 onion
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried parsley

  1. Drizzle the carrots in a tbsp of oil & roast at 220 degrees for about 40 mins until soft, sweet & slightly char grilled.
  2. Cook the onion & garlic in the rest of the oil.
  3. Add the tinned tomatoes & cook for about 5-10 mins.
  4. Add the roasted carrots, parsley, chili flakes & harissa & cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Add the stock, cover & simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Blend!
Soup is so easy & amazing- I am declaring 2013 the year of soup! All of your lovely home-made soup will keep in the fridge for about 3 days- but you can always freeze it & then just defrost it when you need it. I find it's really handy to freeze it in portions- by putting a freezer bag inside a bowl and then just filling it. That way your can portion off a batch & just use what you need. When you want to use it, just peel the frozen soup out of the bag (it's like a big soup ice-cube!), put it in a bowl & microwave it on full power until hot- stirring it occasionally throughout. It usually takes about 8-10 minutes. Yum!