Monday, 9 January 2012

Ingredients Records Soups

It's the winter and we all love soups for lunch this time of year. Admittedly, it's not that cold at the moment but still, who needs an excuse to eat a home made soup! I think the best thing about them is that they are cheap & relatively easy to make. The important thing when it comes to cooking at home is having the tools. For soups, you simply need a nice sized saucepan (£30), some plastic tubs for portions and a food blitzer (the hand held ones are fine). Once you've invested in these you will be able to cook soups for years and make a huge saving, not forgetting the pleasure of tasting your own fresh cooking.

Most soups are vegetable based, so my tip is to dice or slice the vegetable of choice, and sweat them in the saucepan for as long as possible, til pretty much cooked. This will bring out the flavour of the vegetable and also make the soup have the colour it should, too.

Don't always assume soups start with Onion! So many people do and ultimately it takes over the soup's flavour, so steer clear unless of course it requires one (Tomato and French Onion spring to mind).
So now i've got you in the Soup world i may as well give you some recipes of soups i like to make for my working week, and like many, where you were spending around £40 per month you should now be spending around £20 for the same volume of Soup.

Chicken Stock:
Sundays usually mean roast dinners, so if you have roast chicken keep the carcass and boil for an hour in a pan with 2 pints of water, a white onion, bay leaf, pepper corns and a leek if you have it.
Drain into a bowl void of all the bits and leave to cool. Skim off the fat.

Leek & Potato Soup with Lemon & Tarragon.

6 x Leeks chopped and sweated in the saucepan with some butter until soft.
1 x Large potato peeled and sliced added to the leeks
1/2 pt Cream
1 Pint of Chicken Stock
Boil this slowly for an hour.
Blitz in the saucepan adding 3 stems of Tarragon leaves, season as you go with Salt & Pepper
Finish with a good squeeze of half a lemon, stir and serve.

Broccoli & Blue Cheese Soup

I x Head of Brocolli
1 x Large potato
1 x Clove of Garlic
1 x Pint of Vegetable stock ( a cube is fine)
1/2 pint of Milk.

Cut off the Brocolli stem and chuck away. Roughly cut the Brocolli head and sweat in the saucepan with some butter, keep stirring it as it tends to not like being cooked in this manner!
Add some of the stock, the peeled & sliced potato and let it simmer in that for 10 mins, before adding the rest of the stock, the garlic and the milk.

After 40 minutes, making sure the potato is cooked (it will be) begin blitzing adding some cubes of blue cheese. I'd say the equivalent of half the size of a standard wedge of Blue cheese is ample.
Careful when seasoning it, you may not need to because the cheese is salty. How easy was that!

Chicken, Chorizo & Chilli soup

I sort of made this up one day and I'm almost addicted. Ok, it's unlike the Soups above, but you have to try these things out, you can't keep making two soups all your life.

1 x Chicken Breast
1 x Clove of Garlic
1 or 2 x Green Chilli (remove the seeds)
2 Tblsp Worcester Sauce.
Chop the Chicken into about 10 pieces, fry in a pan with a little oil, worcester sauce,
garlic & sliced chilli. Remove from the pan and set aside.

1 x Pint Chicken Stock
75ml of Double Cream
1 x Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
1 x Chorizo Sausage

Chop the sausage into nice edible sized chunks & fry in the saucepan, once browned add the chicken stock. Add the the tomatoes and stir in the cream. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes and then add in the Chicken & let it cook together for another 20 minutes. Season with salt & pepper. Try this out a few times until you got it how you like it.

Carrot, Apple, Ginger & Chilli

6 x Carrots, peeled, chopped
3 x Celery stems
1 x Red Chilli (de-seeded)
4 x Apples Peeled and chopped (any tbh)
2 x Thumb sized pieces of Ginger, peeled and chopped
2 pints of vegetable stock

A simple, healthy soup. Sweat the Carrots in some butter (or olive oil) with the celery
Once cooked, add the apples, ginger and chilli & add some of the stock & let simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the rest of the stock & blitz. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Pea & Ham Soup  (A very simple Pea & Ham soup)

Pea & Ham has to be one of the best soups ever! Here's a simple version:

1 x 1 Kg Bag of frozen Peas
1 x Large white potato (Peeled & diced)
1 x small white onion (sliced)
1 x Fresh mint
2 x Garlic cloves (chopped)
2 pints of Chicken or Vegetable stock
1/2 pint of milk or cream
1 x packet of smoked ham (much cheaper)

In a big saucepan start cooking the white onion, add the peas & the diced potato.
Add the garlic and stir through for 5 minutes. Now start adding the stock and leave to
cook for 30 mins. Add a good bunch of mint leaves and the Milk / Cream.
Begin blitzing until nice and smooth. Chop the Ham into pieces and add to the already blitzed soup.
Leave it to fuse for an hour is my advice.

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