Thursday, 3 November 2011

In which I do soup...

I went to the local stone circle on Tuesday for an open ritual for Samhain.  There's nothing worse than getting cold standing around and having nothing to warm you up afterwards, so I always take soup.  These two soups seem to always go down well:

Leek & Potato soup

300g washed and finely chopped leeks
300g potatoes cut into 2cm cubes
1 small onion
1 carrot
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
300ml good veg stock (can use chicken stock)
200ml full fat milk
half tsp salt
half tsp pepper
1 tbsp light olive oil

Cook the leeks, potato, carrots, celery and onion in the oil on a low heat, stirring frequently until leeks and onions are translucent - don't caramalise them!

Add the stock and milk, stir

Add seasoning, stir, cover and simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes or until the veg is cooked through

Taste, adjust seasoning.

You can serve this soup with this texture, or allow to cool slightly and blend to a smooth consistency (my preferred way!)

Serve with a dash of cream, creme fraiche or sour cream, and garnish with chopped parsley or chives.
Great with soda bread to mop up the last bits with!

Makes 4 portions (3 if you're a greedy sod like me) and freezes brilliantly.

Tomato & Lentil soup

50ml olive oil
100g lentils
4 carrots, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 x 400g canned chopped tomatoes or 500g peeled fresh toms
1 bunch leaves basil
1.2 litres vegetable stock
black pepper and pinch salt
1 small bunch finely chopped parsley

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Over a very low heat gently fry the lentils, carrot, celery, garlic and onion for 30 minutes, stirring now and then.
Add the tomatoes. Cook briskly until reduced by two-thirds.
Add the stock and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Stir in chopped parsley.
When lentils are soft, stir in chopped basil and remove from heat. Wait ten minutes before blending, just to let basil infuse. Freezes brilliantly!
 You can substitute oregano for the basil (which is what I do a lot in the winter when I'm out of fresh basil; dried basil is just not worth bothering with, I think) - add dried oregano to the veg as it's cooking to get the best flavour.

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