Soup, soup, glorious soup

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There’s something about a steaming bowl of soup which makes the perfect accompaniment to a winter’s day. Simon and Alison Holst’s new book Everyday Easy 100 Soup Recipes serves up plenty of heart-warming and nourishing inspiration, from classic pumpkin soup to the more unusual white gazpacho with grapes.

soupThe beauty of Simon and Alison Holst’s recipes is that no matter what your level of skill, you can enjoy them along with the reminder of just how wonderful good basic home cooked food is.

From fresh ‘made in minutes’ family favourites to hearty ‘meal in a bowl soups’ as well as soups elegant enough for entertaining, Everyday Easy 100 Soup Recipes includes classic favourites as well as dishes with a modern fresh twists.

Smoothie-mania may have taken the world by storm but soup, soup, glorious soup is the hot new menu ticket for winter.

This collection of more than 100 of Simon and Alison’s favourite soup recipes explores everything from the slowly simmered, Alison’s speciality, to surprisingly quick meals options. There’s something for almost any budget too – most soups are remarkably economical. They are fantastic for turning unassuming (and often cheaper) ingredients into something much greater than the sum of the parts.

A simmering stockpot has been a feature of kitchens for centuries and sometimes soup is the forgotten hero of the comfort food world.


Kumara, Coconut and Lentil Soup

This is one of Alison’s favourite soups. You don’t need to be fussy about the size (or colour) of the kumara.

For about 4 servings:
1 Tbsp canola or olive oil
1 medium–large onion, peeled and sliced
2cm piece fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp curry powder
½ cup red lentils
1 kumara (about 400g), peeled and cubed
3 cups boiling water
4 tsp chicken or vegetable stock powder
400ml can coconut cream

Put the oil and onion in a fairly large pot. Stir well and heat until the onion is lightly but evenly browned. Add the ginger, garlic and curry powder to the onion, and stir for 1–2 minutes.
Turn a medium-to-large slow cooker to High or Low, depending on how much time you have available, and tip in the onion mixture. Add the lentils, kumara, boiling water, stock powder and coconut cream.
Cook on High for about 4 hours or on Low for about 8 hours until the kumara is tender.
Purée the mixture in a food processor, thin with water if required, then adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve immediately or reheat just before serving.

VARIATION: If you like a smooth soup, purée everything when the kumara is tender, then put it through a Alison’s ‘Different’ Barley Broth


Alison’s ‘Different’ Barley Broth

When Alison makes this colourful and comforting soup she thinks how the addition of tomatoes and corn would have shocked her mother, who always made traditional barley and lamb broth.

soupimgFor about 8 cups:
¾ cup pearl barley
2 litres (8 cups) boiling water
8 tsp chicken or other stock powder
2–3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 large or 2 small onions, peeled
and chopped
2–3 carrots, scrubbed and chopped
1 unpeeled apple, finely chopped
Salt, freshly ground pepper and
chilli to taste
400g can chopped tomatoes in juice
400g can cream-style corn
about 1 cup chopped parsley

Put the first seven ingredients in a 3.5-litre capacity slow cooker. Taste the liquid, then season the mixture to your taste, adding salt, pepper and chilli in any form you like.
Cover and cook on High for 6–8 hours until the barley is very tender and has thickened the soup, and the vegetables are cooked.
Season to taste, then stir in the canned tomatoes (including juice), and the corn. Rinse out the cans with a little water and add this, too.
Cook the soup for another ½–1 hour on High until it is very hot, then stir in the chopped parsley and serve, varying the size of the servings to suit the situation, with rolls, toast, or toasted cheese sandwiches, etc.

Refrigerate or freeze any leftover soup.

VARIATION: For extra flavour and body, add two or three chicken skeletons (frames) to the slow cooker after you’ve added the first seven ingredients, but take them out before you add the tomatoes and corn.


Recipes reproduced from Everyday Easy 100 Soup Recipes by Simon & Alison Holst, published by Hyndman Publishing, RRP$34.99, available nationwide

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