Well, with this freezing winter weather upon us I decided today was a good time to make a big vat of wholesome vegetable soup. It’s not really a recipe as such, more a throwing together of whatever veg I have to hand, either fresh or frozen, add stock, herbs if you like, soaked lentils/barley/split peas if you want to bulk it up, and hey presto!
I started off with chopped leeks (chopped onions, or a mixture of the two is also great) which I fry in a little oil (olive, vegetable, sunflower, groundnut, any will do) and a knob of butter for flavour. Add salt and pepper and fry gently until softened. Then I added peeled and chopped carrot, swede, potato and chicken stock to cover (other times I use vegetable stock). Bring it up to the boil and simmer until the veg is tender (about 15 minutes as I chopped the veg into bite size chunks). Today I then added brocolli, peas, sweetcorn and chopped savoy cabbage (all frozen) and simmered for 5 minutes. I used a hand blender to break the soup up a little but I like to keep it quite chunky so you can see what vegetables are in it.
I also had a pack of ‘Soup and Broth Mix’ from Tesco, which contains barley, dried marrowfat peas, dried green and yellow split peas and dried red lentils. 250g of this had been soaked in a pan of cold water overnight and then simmered for 40 minutes before draining. I then added this to the soup at the end (after blending). I find this makes the soup more wholesome and filling but you certainly don’t need it. And that’s pretty much all there is to it!
Of course I vary the vegetables I use according to what I have lurking in the fridge or freezer at the time. I always try to use some potato though as this helps to thicken the soup. I know some people are a bit sniffy about frozen vegetables but I find them a godsend, and they are often a lot better than using something that’s been hanging around in the fridge for a while looking a bit dubious!
This is the kind of cooking I like, where I can adjust ingredients to suit my mood and feel very accomplished stirring a huge pot of wholesomeness. Just the ticket on a freezing, bleak January day!