Monday, 25 November 2013

Super soups

As you may have gathered from the last several posts, I am a bit of a soup fan.  I reckon there's nothing better than a hearty, healthy home made soup on these cold, dull and damp winter days.  Lettuce time is over and gone.
Borrowed from Google
If you have a few veg, a can of chopped tomatoes and some seasonings and stock, you have the makings of a great soup.  Add some pulses and it's a meal in a bowl.  Shreds of left over meat or some grated cheese over and it's gourmet.  Well, maybe not entirely but you know what I mean!

Let's forget about Thermione for now.  the basic process is this.
1.  Chop up your veg and saute them in a little oil or butter until they are soft and cooked.  Try not to brown them although it's not a disaster if you do!

2.  If you're adding spices, add them now and cook them out for a short time.  Ditto for fresh garlic and fresh chilli.

3.  Pour over the chopped tomatoes and stock (or stock powder and water).  Unless your stock is totally unsalty, don't add any more salt now but pepper is a different matter!

4.  If you're using lentils or canned pulses add them now too.

5.  Bring to the boil, add herbs if you want, cover and simmer until everything is soft.

6.  You could eat it just as it is, chunky, or you could mash it up or, for a really smooth soup, zizz it with a stick thingy or in a blender.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  If adding shreds of cooked meat, now is the time to add them: stir them in and they will heat very quickly

A few notes:
Check the chopped tomatoes as tomato seeds taste bitter and value chopped tomatoes can contain seeds.  If necessary, push the contents through a sieve.  You don't have to use tomatoes and I don't always but it adds a good flavour.

Butter beans make for a delicious, creamy, smooth texture.

Sometimes it can come out very thick, especially if you cool the soup for reheating next day.  You can slacken with water, but slackening with milk adds a creaminess which is very pleasant.  A dash of cream is luxury itself!

I almost always use onion, carrot and celery as the base.  The Hairy Bikers call it a 'trinity' and certainly they can make for a great flavour but really you can use other veg too - potato makes for a good texture and peppers go well with lentils and tomatoes.

Good stock = good soup (usually!)

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