Super soup

There isn’t anything that makes me quite as happy on a cold winter’s evening than a warm bowl of vegetable soup with warm crusty bread and perhaps even a little bit of cheese 😉 It’s hot, it fills you up and you can literally feel the vitamin and mineral goodness as you eat it – especially if you add some superfoods into the mix.

I used to find the idea of making my own soup quite daunting – memories of my mother chopping up vegetables in the kitchen seemed to all meld into one, making the prospect of cooking soup seem like a very long and arduous affair. But as I found out when I got down to it, making soup doesn’t really take that much time.

I’ll admit, it takes a little while to cook – it wouldn’t do as one of Jamie Oliver’s 15-minute-meals. However, prep time does boil down to chopping a few veg and throwing them in a pot with some stock, which doesn’t take more than 10-15 minutes. After that, you let it cook for a little wile, until the vegetables are tender and easily pierced with a fork – about 15-20 minutes. Take a hand blender, blend for 5 minutes off the heat, and voilà! Not so quick but definitely easy soup.
I’ve gotten into the habit of throwing into my soups whichever green vegetables I have in the fridge that week without sticking to a recipe, and this seems to work wonders – I can make soup twice a week and still feel like I’m having variety. I usually stick to a few key ingredients, including onion, garlic, celery and broccoli, adding random ingredients in after, such as courgette, green beans, peas, carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, fennel, and leafy greens such as kale, cavolo nero or spinach.
Here’s my current favorite: Parsnip, Broccoli and Spinach soup. The parsnip gives it a lovely depth of flavour, while adding spinach five minutes before the end gives the soup both richness and a lovely deep green colour.

Parsnip, Broccoli and Spinach soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

3 celery sticks, roughly peeled chopped into cubes

2 parsnips, peeled and chopped

Half a head of broccoli (florets and stem), chopped

Spinach, washed and roughly torn

1 litre of stock

Salt

Pepper

Coconut oil, olive oil or butter

1. In a pot, melt a small spoonful of coconut oil, butter or some olive oil. Add chopped onion and garlic clove and cook for five minutes over medium heat, until translucent.

2. Add celery, parsnip and broccoli, and cook for a few more minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste, before adding the stock.

3. Simmer for a further 15 minutes, then mix in spinach.

4. When spinach is wilted and parsnips easily pierced with a fork, take off the heat. Blend with hand blender until smooth (takes a few minutes).

5. Sprinkle with some sunflower seeds or parmesan shavings, serve with hot, crusty bread, and enjoy!

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