Thick, warm and satisfying or ice-cold and refreshing, soups are one of the most adaptable dishes you can cook. It’s an economical and quick to make, so versatile and can include so many different herbs, spices, vegetables, pulses, beans, rice, pasta meats, fish and fruits. A number one reason to love soup is you can put your selection ingredients into a pot with some stock or bone broth and let is bubble gently away an low and behold half an hour later you have created a delicious and flavoured filled soup. The soup can be eaten with chunks of vegetables, meat or blend it with a stick blender for a smooth and creamy soup.
The basis to a great soup is quality stock or broth and you can buy excellent ready made stocks or bone broths or indeed make your own if you so wish.
My go to method for making homemade stock for soup
- Add a couple of peeled chopped onions, garlic, celery sticks, carrots and some fresh herbs such as thyme, bay leaf, rosemary or sage. You can alternatively use dried herbs if you don’t have access to fresh ones. Cover the vegetables and herbs generously with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer half covered for an hour and then strain the liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- You can add other vegetables such as leeks or lemon rind to introduce another flavour element.
- You can also add in a chicken carcass for extra flavour for the non-vegetarians.
Garnishing your soup adds a whole other level to it and elevates it just that little bit more.
Here are some suggestions for adding a little more love to your hug in a bowl.
Fresh herbs such as chives, parsley go well with most soups and basil is great used with tomato or red pepper soup.
A swirl of Greek yogurt or cream adds a flourish to mushroom, carrot and most Mediterranean soups.
A couple of chopped walnuts, pine nuts or almonds adds a little crunch to a silky smooth cauliflower or artichoke soup.
This particular chicken and sweetcorn soup never goes out of fashion in my home
Chicken and sweetcorn soup
2 green onions diced
100g uncooked boneless chicken fillets
3 tsp of cornflour
800ml chicken stock or bone broth
200g of sweet corn kernels
salt and pepper to taste
oil for cooking onions
chopped spring onion to garnish
- Heat a pan over a medium heat add a tablespoon of oil, add in the diced onions. Cook until they are tender about 7 minutes, set aside.
- Add the stock to a pot, add the softened onions return to a medium heat and cook for 3 minutes. Add in the chicken fillets and poach them in the stock and onions for about 8 minutes till the chicken is fully cooked. Remove the chicken fillets from the pot and allow to cool.
- Shred the chicken and add it back in to a pot, also add the sweetcorn. Turn on the heat and cook for a further 8 minutes.
- Blend the cornflour with 2 tablespoons of water to make a creamy paste, ensure it is completely smooth. Add it to your soup stirring continuously and cook for a further 4 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with chopped spring onion.
Celeriac and apple soup
1 celery stalk
1 celeriac head
Pink lady apples
Small bunch of fresh thyme
2 litres vegetable stock
200ml creme fraiche
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried apple slices
Edible flowers or herbs
A few Drops of chilli oil
- Slice the onions and roughly chop the celery. Heat a deep pan, add the oil and cook the onions and celery over a medium heat for 10 minutes until they are soft.
- Chop the celeriac into chunks, peel, core, quarter the apples and add them to the pan. Pick in the thyme leaves making sure not to add the woody bits and add to the pan cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the stock, season and simmer over a low heat for 30 to 35 minutes until the celeriac is tender. Remove from the heat and blitz with a stick blender until smooth. Stir in 2/3 of the creme fraiche
- Spoon the soup into bowls and top with the remaining creme fraiche. Garnish the soup with the chorizo, dried apples and edible flowers and leaves, drizzle with the chilli oil and serve immediately.
Article By: Jennifer Oppermann