In my final year of university, I substituted Jaegerbombs and clubbing for fine wine and soup making. Spending a day carving up veg and listening to Tracy Chapman tends to be much more gratifying than lying in bed hungover. I am going to outline some of the best of mine and my housemate’s creations, so you can experience for yourself the oomph that each of these soups deliver.
So I don’t endlessly repeat myself, here's a few pointers that go for every soup:
- Heat 1 chopped medium/large onion with 2-3 cloves of garlic and olive oil in a saucepan until translucent (chuck a stick of celery in too, if you think the flavour will work). Do this before adding any of your other ingredients.
- Throw in the rest of the veg and cook until soft.
- Add around 1.5 litres of vegetable stock (homemade or not, who cares).
- Simmer for 20 minutes, blend, throw in herbs, spices, and crème fraiche to taste.
- Always have plenty of tiger bread ready and maybe a flatbread if you’re feeling fiendish.
All of these soups are made in a similar fashion and serve 4-5. Anyway, the soups!
9. Honey Roasted Parsnip
Lather 6-8 parsnips in olive oil and honey, before baking them in the oven.
Fry the onion and garlic. A small amount of ginger can be added here if that’s your sort of thing.
Take the parsnips out when golden and chuck them into the saucepan.
I recommend adding a lot of heat to this one to counteract the sweetness. Crushed cumin seeds are ideal, or possibly garam masala with finely cut, fresh chillies on top.
8. Apple and Celeriac
This soup has an intriguing flavour that had my housemate wearing an inquisitive look on his face throughout the time he was eating it.
Get one nice, big celeriac and chop it roughly. Celeriac comes from the same family as celery - believe it or not - so add a couple sticks if you like.
Add 3 or 4 cooking apples with thyme or rosemary (depending on your preference).
NOTE: This soup can wind up tasting a lot like the apple sauce you have with roast pork so be sure to add lots of salt and pepper to prevent this.
7. Cream of Mushroom
Get experimental with this one; it’s hard to go wrong.
Get 500g of as many different kinds of mushrooms as you can get your hands on: brown, white, shitake, whatever. Add parsley, thyme, or both. Rich and majestic. Croutons are a must.
6. Pea and Mint
You’ll need 500g of peas - fresh or frozen. But make sure the mint is fresh; add about a handful 10 minutes before blending.
This soup is quite thin, so add a potato or extra crème fraiche to thicken. Again a simple win; just don’t drop it.
Click the photo for my incredible Thai Green Curry recipe on YouTube!
I’m not gonna insult your intelligence by explaining this one too much.
A whole broccoli without the thick stalk in the middle. Add a potato if you want.
4. Carrot and Fennel
Balance is key here: 2 carrots to 1 bulb of fennel. 4 carrots and 2 bulbs should suffice.
Carrots can be honey roasted as per the parsnip recipe before.
Fennel smells just like aniseed. Don’t panic, the sweetness of the carrots should counteract this if prepared properly.
Roast all veg for 20 minutes before adding to the saucepan and add some fresh sprigs of thyme at the end.
3. Tomato and Basil
I hope after this recipe you won’t eat tinned tomato soup again. Tomato soup should be a shade of deep ruby, not some scatty fake tan.
Use tinned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes or both; around 4 tins of tomatoes or twelve fresh tomatoes (if fresh, chuck the vines in as well for a delicious earthy flavour).
Once cooked, tear in as much fresh basil as you have. I recommend not being stingy on the crème fraiche here. A complete classic.
2. Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato
The next two soups are utterly delectable. The squash and sweet potato made me say for the first time, “Yeah. This is what I want to do with the rest of my life.”
Carve one ripe butternut squash and 2-3 sweet potatoes depending on their size. Simply velvet.
1. Spicy Pumpkin
This edges to number 1 over the previous entries simply because of the warmth it brings in the cold months.
Allow yourself an hour and a sizeable knife to carve the biggest pumpkin you can get your hands on.
Get out the cumin seeds early on (crushed), and fry them off with the onion and garlic.
Before blending, add sliced red chillies - the more you can handle the better. Once blended; season the soup with chilli flakes, fresh coriander and a big old dollop of crème fraiche.
And there you have it, a lifetime of wisdom from a soup connoisseur.
Have you tried out these heart-warming recipes? Let me know if you hated them below!