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PUMPKIN AND BLACK BEAN SOUP

pumpkin and black bean soup (640x399)

The addition of beans and a little spice really brings this soup to life!

Serves 4-5

1 kg fresh pumpkin, skinned and cut into even sized pieces

390g cooked and drained black or kidney beans

1 cup drained tinned tomatoes, chopped

1 onion, diced

1 leek, washed and sliced thinly

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ Tbsp ground cumin

1 Tbsp ground coriander

Pinch dried chilli flakes

½  tsp freshly ground black pepper

50g butter

4 cups beef stock or vegetable stock

2-3 Tbsp red wine or sherry vinegar

To serve – sour cream

Method

In a food processor coarsely puree beans and tomatoes.

In a large heavy-based pot, add the butter and cook the onion, leek, garlic, chilli flakes and cumin, coriander over moderate heat, stirring until onion has softened and beginning to brown. Add the pumpkin and broth and season lightly.  Cook until the pumpkin is very soft about 20 – 30 minutes.  Using a masher lightly mash the pumpkin so it becomes more of a puree and has thickened the soup.  Stir in coarse bean puree and simmer, uncovered for 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Just before serving, add vinegar and simmer soup, stirring, until heated through. Season soup with salt and pepper and a generous blob of sour cream.

 

 

 

 

MOROCCAN CARROT SOUP

 

Moroccan Carrot Soup

Serves 4-6

2Tbsp butter

1 onion, sliced thinly

1 kg carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

600 ml chicken or veg stock

1 ½ tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp fennel seeds

1Tbsp honey

1tsp fresh lemon juice

pinch ground allspice

1/2 cup plain yogurt, stirred to loosen

METHOD

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes. Mix in carrots. Add broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Stir cumin seeds in small frypan over medium-high heat until fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes; cool. Finely grind in spice mill.

Remove soup from heat. Puree in batches in blender or whatever method works, until smooth. Return to same pan. Whisk in honey, lemon juice, and allspice. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle yogurt over; sprinkle generously with cumin.

INDIAN SPICED PUMPKIN SOUP

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Well the weather has changed and so are the dishes, gone are the salads and here are the soups.  This have a few warming spices in it to make a change from the norm.

1kg pumpkin, chopped roughly, but evenly

1 Tbsp oil

1 onion, medium

2 cloves garlic, sliced

½ tsp ginger, sliced thinly

½ tsp Cumin Seeds

2 Tsp Curry Powder

1 Vegetable Stock Cube

2 cups water approximately

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground pepper

2 Tbsp fresh coriander

Natural yoghurt for serving (optional)

Method

Add the oil to a large heavy-based pot and add the cumin seeds first and let pop, add the ginger, garlic and onion and saute until light brown.

Add pumpkin pieces and sauté for a further two minutes, add the curry powder and mix well.  Add enough water to just cover pumpkin, add stock and coriander stalks. Cover with lid and cook for 20 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.

Cool soup a little and blend until smooth.  Return to clean pot and adjust seasoning and consistency. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until hot add chopped coriander and serve with a little dollop of yoghurt is desired.

 

 

BROCCOLI SOUP

organic lettuce (326) (640x421)

This is a classic soup and one that I love especially when scattered with a  little cheese.

Serves 4

2 cups broccoli, cut into even sized florets, peel and cut the stalk into smallish pieces

1 tsp fresh dill (optional)

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 clove of garlic, sliced thinly

1 cup milk, yoghurt or cream

Salt and cracked pepper

80g good quality blue cheese or freshly grated parmesan (optional) for serving

Method

Start by pouring the stock into a suitable size pot and bring to the boil.  Add the broccoli and cook gently until the broccoli it is just tender.  Add the garlic and fresh dill and cook for a further 10 minutes so that the broccoli is very tender but not so that it goes very a pale green.

Remove from the heat and blend until smooth, add the milk, yoghurt or cream and adjust the seasoning to suit.  Bring to the boil again and reduce immediately.  Serve in warm bowls with plenty of cheese and fresh bread!

BOK CHOY SOUP

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Serves 4

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

10 leaves stalks bok choy, thinly sliced

2 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp Asian sesame oil

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 garlic clove, peeled, finely chopped

Sprinkle fresh coriander

Method

Bring the stock to the boil in a medium saucepan, stir in the seasonings (the red pepper flakes, soy sauce, Asian sesame oil), and the chopped garlic. Add the bok choy and simmer for up to 10 minutes, until the bok choy leaves turn dark green and are wilted and tender.

 

CURRIED APPLE SOUP

This soup is a pleasant surprise and one that is perfect for spring

Serves 4

1 Tbsp butter


2 shallots or  1 medium onion, finely diced


2 tsp freshly grated ginger


1  ½  Tbsp curry powder


2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 2cm pieces


1 handful red lentils


1 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning


3 ¾ cups chicken or vegetable stock


1/2 cup cream or milk


Freshly ground pepper


Sour cream, for garnish (optional)

Method

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots; cook until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add ginger and curry powder; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add apples, lentils, salt, and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and cook until lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly.

Use a hand blender, food processor or masher, working in batches if necessary so as not to fill more than halfway; puree just until smooth (do not overprocess). Return soup to pan; stir in cream, and season with salt and pepper. Place over medium heat until soup is just heated through; do not let it boil. Divide soup among serving bowls, and garnish with sour cream.

KALE AND WHITE BEAN SOUP

Thick, hearty, healthy and delicious; soups like this are a meal in themselves and need little to accompany them.


SERVES 4-6

250g dried cannellini, haricot or 2 tin white beans, drained


4 Tbsp olive oil


1 onion, diced


2 carrots, peeled and diced


2 sticks of celery, diced


2-4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly


1 Tbsp tomato paste


Handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped


1 sprig (2 tsp ) fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped


Pinch dried chilli flakes


1 bunch (6 stalks) kale, remove stalks and sliced roughly


2 litres stock or water


Salt and freshly ground pepper


Extra virgin olive oil and a little freshly grated parmesan cheese to serve.

Method
If using dried beans, rinse well and soak overnight or for at least eight hours covered in cold water.

Drain and rinse under cold running water.  Place the beans in a suitable size pot and cover generously with water, add stalks of parsley and rosemary and 1-2 cloves garlic.  Cook over a moderate heat until tender (approx. 40 minutes to 1 hour) remember to add no salt until last 10 minutes of cooking.  Set aside!

In a medium to large pot add the oil, onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sweat off (to cook without colour) for at least 10 minutes.  Add the tomato paste,  herbs and kale, cook for a further 5 minutes.  Add the cooked beans along with about 1 cup of the cooking liquid.  If using tin beans rinse them well and add to soup.  Add enough stock or water to just cover ingredients, add a pinch of chilli and season well.  Simmer gently until all the ingredients start to come together in taste and the kale has wilted and the beans are on the verge of going a little mushy (about 30 minutes). 

Taste and adjust seasoning, I like to use a potato masher and once or twice mash the beans and vegetables lightly together to slightly thicken the soup.

Serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a grate or two of cheese!

GOULASH SOUP

This is one of those soups which crosses the boundaries – is it is a soup or stew? It is a soup which is commonly found in Hungary, don’t skimp on the paprika as this spice is the secret to a good goulash!

Serves 6-8

1 kg stewing steak


2 Tbsp flour or gluten free flour


Vegetable oil


2 medium onions, diced


4 medium carrots, dieced


2 celery sticks, light coloured leaves and all, diced


5 garlic cloves, crushed


4 Tbsp good sweet paprika (don’t skimp)


2 Tbsp caraway seeds, crushed


60g tomato paste


3 bay leaves


2 litres good beef stock


4 potatoes, peeled and chopped small


Sea salt


Freshly ground black pepper


Soured creamed and parsley to serve

Method
Trim the meat and cut into bite-sized chunks.  In a large bowl, mix the flour with a teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  Add the beef and toss so that all the chunks are dusted with flour.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan and brown the beef in small batches, setting each batch aside while you brown the next.  Take care not to crowd the pan or the beef will steam rather than brown.

Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan, add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic.  Cook gently for about 10 minutes until they start to soften.

Add the beef, paprika, caraway seeds, tomato paste and bay leaves, then pour in the beef stock. Stir well, cover the pan and simmer for at least an hour and a half until the beef is starting to get tender.  Add the potatoes and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.  Check the seasoning before serving. 

Serve in soup bowls with a generous spoonful of soured cream and sprinkling of parsley (if you like). 

VEGETABLE SOUP

With thanks to McArthurs wonderful array of vegetables you could take your pick to make a vegetable soup of your choice, below is a simple recipe to get you started.  Feel free to add herbs, spices, pulses and variety of vegetables to create your own soup!

Serves 4

2 Tbsp olive oil


1 Tbsp butter


1 onion, diced finely


1 leek, washed well and sliced


2 carrots, diced


2 sticks celery, sliced thinly


2 potatoes, cubed


Generous handful greens – cavolo nero, kale, cabbage or parsley, stalks removed and roughly chopped


4 sprigs fresh thyme


Parmesan cheese to serve (optional)

Method
In a large pot add the oil and butter, add the onion, leek, carrot, celery and thyme and cook with the lid on over a moderate heat for 10-15 minutes to extract as much flavour as possible.  Cover with cold water and bring to the boil, then reduce the temperature to a gentle simmer.  Add the potatoes and greens and cook until the potatoes are just tender (about 5-10 minutes).
Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, serve hot with a little freshly grated parmesan if desired.

LEEK AND PARSNIP SOUP

This is the perfect winter soup – leeks, parsnips and parsley, all easily attainable at this time of the year. 
Parsnip Soup with Leeks and Parsley

Serves 6

2 Tbsp butter


3 leeks, white and pale green parts only, sliced lengthwise, cleaned, sliced crosswise into 1cm slices


2 Tbsp olive oil


1kg parsnips, peeled and chopped


2 strips lemon zest


1-2 teaspoons salt


4 cups chicken stock (use vegetable stock for vegetarian option)


2 cups water


2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley


Pepper to taste

Method
Heat butter in a large pot on medium heat. Add the chopped leeks, toss to coat with the butter. When the leeks are heated enough so they begin to sizzle in the pan, lower the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook until soft, but don’t let the leeks brown.
Add the parsnips and olive oil, and toss to coat, return the lid and cook over low heat for a further 5 minutes.  Sprinkle on the salt. Add the stock and water, add the strips of lemon zest. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook until the parsnips are completely tender, at least 30 minutes.
Remove and discard the lemon zest. Add the parsley. Purée the soup until smooth, either by using a hand-blender or food processor.  Return the puréed soup to the pot. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, reheat and serve.