Homemade soup. There’s nothing like it. Especially when you go rogue and don’t use a recipe – oh the madness! Making country vegetable soup from scratch is so satisfying and that is exactly what I did for dinner on Wednesday, with The Mammy’s encouragement – she liked my Thrown-Together Soup so much last time that she went out and bought all the necessary veggies for me to repeat it. How sweet.
I took some rooty veggies: parsnip and carrots. Then some stalky fellas: celery, leeks. Last time, there were cubed pieces of sweet potato which were a very welcome contributor. Slice the leeks into rounds and keep to one side. Chop up the other veggies real small, about 1cm cubes. I judge by eye how much to measure. Today, the colours looked evenly mixed but I sort of wish there had been another small carrot in there. We had a deliciously celery-perfumed soup, which still lingered on my palette a few hours later. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. I think I developed a new appreciation for celery that night, which was sadly lacking before. The addition of about 1blsp of fresh grated ginger and a healthy glug of The Mammy’s sweet cooking sherry gave this soup great depth of flavour. I also added two bay leaves while the liquid was simmering down. Throw some crusty buttered bread on the side and you’ve got yourself a serving of hearty domestic bliss right there. Now, if only I had my own vegetable garden or a beautiful veggie box delivered to my door, I’d make soup all the time!
Vegetable Soup1 large Carrot 1 large parsnip ½ sweet potato 2-3 celery stalks 1 large Leek 500ml chicken stock 1 good tblsp grated ginger 2 bay leaves About ¼ cup sherry Salt and black pepper, season to taste About ¼ cup of olive oil + 1 oz butter
1. In a large saucepan, heat about ¼ cup olive oil and about 1oz of butter over a medium-low heat. Add the leeks, get them mixed in the oil and butter then sweat them down for 7-10 minutes until they have gone soft, stirring regularly.
2. Add the chopped veg and stir everything up to coat in oil and butter. Cook for about 5mins, stirring regularly. Add the grated ginger.
3. Add 500ml stock. Stir and season well. Throw in the bay leaves. The soup needs to simmer down for about 15-20mins. Halfway through cooking, add the sherry. The soup is done when the liquid has thickened and turned cloudy, and the veg has just passed the al dente phase. If you want all the veg to be mushy or if you want to maintain some bite, adjust your cooking time accordingly.
4. Blitz the soup down with an immersion blender or you can whiz it up in a blender, keeping it as lumpy as you wish or making it super smooth.
5. Serve with crusty fresh bread and a dollop of cream.