Posts Tagged “soup”

Provençal Fish Soup When I mention fish soup to my friends they typically turn up their noses. I think the first thing that comes to their minds is some kind of unappetising greyish slop, but this one is about as far from that image as you could get! This recipe has its roots in Provence, in the south of France. It's a two-day affair; first you have to diligently clean the fish and rinse them under running water before marinating overnight in olive oil, a selection of herbs and spices, and a _mire poix_ of vegetables. This marinating really makes a difference to the depth of flavour - I recommend you don't omit this step. The spices (saffron and paprika) give the soup an inviting golden colour. In the restaurant we would order _fish soup mix_ from our fishmonger and they would provide us with a nice range of small fish such as gurnard, mullet, hake or john dory. They were too small to be worth selling on their own as there would be hardly any meat on them, but they were perfect for soup. Luckily I live only a ten minute walk from the harbour, and there is a fishmonger right there on the waterfront. Unfortunately they didn't have any fish-soup-sized fish in stock, so I took one small sea bream and one small sea bass instead. For extra savoury punch I begin the soup by frying anchovies to create a sticky, salty base. While the fish are roasting in the oven I add the vegetables to the pan and cook them down until soft and sweet. I also add a tin of cooked sardines. The oily fish gives an extra richness. The amazing thing about this soup is everything is pureed, bones included, to create quite a thick, substantial meal. It's perfect served with black olive tapenade on toast. It really is an amazing dish and I promise that you'll see fish soup in a different light after eating this! --- * 1kg small white fish, such as John Dory, hake, bream * 1 small tin anchovies, drained but reserve the oil * 1 tin sardines * 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped * 2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped * 1 bulb fennel, roughly chopped * 1 small leek, roughly chopped * 1 medium onion, roughly chopped * 8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed * 1 bunch thyme * 2 teaspoons paprika * 1 large pinch saffron * crusty bread, for toasting * 6 tablespoons black olive tapenade * extra virgin olive oil * sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper 1. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut off all the fins and sharp bits from the fish and discard them. Remove the innards, gills and eyeballs and discard those also. Wash the fish thoroughly under running cold water, then drain in a colander. If you didn't manage to source any small fish (about the size of your palm or smaller), cut the fish into chunks then place in a deep-sized tray or large bowl. Pick some thyme leaves and reserve them to use as garnish at the end. Add the carrots, tomatoes, fennel, leek, onion, garlic, thyme, paprika, saffron, about 6 tablespoons of olive oil and a generous pinch of sea salt to the fish and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave in the fridge for 12 hours, mixing it occasionally. 2. Heat the oven to 200C. Carefully separate the vegetables from the fish. Place the fish in a roasting tray and roast in the oven for 30-40 minute, or until golden. Meanwhile, place a large, heavy-based pot or casserole dish over a medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Wait 1 minute for the oil to heat up, then add the anchovies plus about a tablespoon of the oil from the tin. Stir-and-fry until the anchovies have broken down into a nice sticky paste, then add the rest of the vegetables. Add another pinch of salt, then cook over a medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft and sweet and starting to caramelise. 3. At this point, the fish should be ready. Add the roasted pieces to the pot with the vegetables, and drain the tin of sardines and add that too. Mix well, then cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, skimming and froth that rises to the surface. Once boiling, turn down to a gentle simmer and cook like this for 1.5 hours, topping up with water to keep the ingredients _just_ covered. The bones of the fish should be very soft and almost mushy. 4. Blend the soup, in batches if need be, and pass through a fine sieve. It's very important to use a _fine mesh_ sieve here as you don't want any of the coarse stuff in the soup. 5. Get the bread toasted and spread it with the tapenade. To garnish the soup, sprinkle over some paprika and the reserved thyme leaves, and drizzle some olive oil.

Roast Garlic Soup I have always been a huge fan of garlic. It’s an awesome ingredient that provides a remarkable amount of flavour given its size… it is small but strong! Obviously it’s more potent when raw, and when used for something like pesto or hummus, you need only a tiny bit. After cooking garlic, however, it loses most of it’s kick and becomes much more mellow. So, if you’re making a pasta sauce for example, you might want a decent amount - 3 or 4 cloves perhaps - to sweat with olive oil for the base of the sauce. Roasting garlic increases the mellowing effect even more, and gives it an amazing deep flavour. This is my favourite way to prepare garlic, and it’s perfect for making soup. --- * 8 bulbs of garlic * 1 sprig of rosemary * 300ml of double cream * 500ml of brown chicken stock * 1 onion * sea salt * cracked black pepper * 1 bunch of chives * olive oil * 1 potato, about 50g 1. Heat the oven to 170C. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a roasting tray and get it hot. Reserve 3 cloves for the garnish later, then cut the tops off the bulbs of garlic so the tips of the cloves are poking out, then add to the roasting tray along with the rosemary and roast for about 45 minutes until the garlic is completely soft and oozing out of its skins. 2. Meanwhile finely slice the onion and sweat in a medium pot with olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt. Cook over a medium heat for about 25 minutes until the onion is soft, sweet and slightly caramelised. Peel the potato and finely slice it. Add to the pot and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. Squeeze the garlic out of its skins and add the soft pulp to the pot along with the cream and brown chicken stock. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, then pour everything into a food processor and blend until completely puréed and silky smooth. If it’s a little too thick, add a splash of chicken stock. 3. To garnish the soup, finely slice the 3 reserved garlic cloves with a sharp knife (or a mandolin, if you have one) and sauté in a little olive oil until they are lightly coloured. Be careful as they will taste bitter if you let them get too dark. Scatter these over the soup along with some finely chopped chives.

Chicken and Coriander Broth I was clearing out my fridge a few weeks ago and came across a selection of root vegetables lurking there, waiting to be turned into something tasty. The first thing that came to my mind was soup, and since we were in the middle of winter I was thinking along the lines of a chunky, meaty broth. I decided on Chicken, which would provide my soup with both the chunky meat component and the stock. A bunch of fresh coriander which also happened to be in my fridge could be involved here in some way, I thought. I remembered a Madhur Jaffrey recipe for coriander chicken curry, involving large quantities of fresh coriander, resulting in a vibrant green curry sauce. It was fantastic, and so I reckoned it could work in my soup too. The earthiness of all those root vegetables would be balanced by the fresh zing of the coriander, perhaps. I prepared the chicken in my usual way; removed the breasts, then cut up the remaining carcass into small pieces and fried until nicely caramelised for the stock. This time I actually chopped up the wings and legs too and added them to the stock for extra flavour. Once the stock was almost ready, after an hour or so, I took some out to gently poach the breast meat in a separate pan. Once perfectly barely cooked, I allowed them to cool before carefully cutting them into dice. All the vegetables and chicken diced to the same size, making for an attractive looking bowl of broth. --- * 1 free range chicken * 1 carrot * 1 onion * 1 stick of celery * 1/2 leek * 2 cloves of garlic * 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds, crushed * 5 black peppercorns * 150ml of dry sherry * 150ml of red wine * 75g of unsalted butter * chicken breasts * 150g of carrot * 150g of swede * 150g of celeriac * 1 onion * 2 large cloves of garlic * 1 large bunch of coriander * vegetable oil, for frying 1. Remove the breasts from the chicken and set aside. Chop the remaining carcass, including the legs and wings, into small pieces. Cut all the vegetables into approx. 1cm dice, set aside. Get a large heavy based pan on a high heat and colour the bones in 2 batches until golden and caramelised. Add a knob of butter at the end of each batch and foam for a few minutes, to enrich and brown the bones further, then drain the butter off in a colander. Add the vegetables, the garlic, coriander seeds and peppercorns to the same pan, which should have some dark intense residue stuck to the bottom, and sweat gently for about 15- 20 minutes, until soft and sweet. All the tasty chicken residue should have melted into the vegetables. Put the chicken bones back into the pan, and add the sherry and red wine. Reduce the alcohol until completely dry, then cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, skimming any fat and scum that rises. Simmer gently for 2 hours, skimming frequently. Pass through a fine sieve and set aside. 2. When the stock is almost ready, ladle some out into a small pan and gently poach the chicken breasts, just covered with hot stock but not boiling, turning the breasts every few minutes. Remove when they are just barely cooked, and allow to cool. While the stock is cooking, prepare the vegetables for the broth: cut the carrot, celeriac, swede and onion into 5mm dice, and finely chop the garlic. Sweat the onion and garlic in vegetable oil for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the carrot and cook for about 5 minutes, add the swede and cook for a further 2 minutes, then finally add the celeriac. Sweat until all the veg is nicely cooked, then remove from the heat. Cut the cooked chicken breast into 5mm dice and set aside. When the stock is ready, season to taste with salt and pour just enough over the diced vegetables, ensuring to leave it nice and thick. You may have some leftover. Add the chicken dice and gently warm through. Finally chop the coriander and stir through at the very end.

Roasted Mushroom Soup I have long been an advocate of the humble button mushroom. It’s one of these ingredients that’s so commonplace, I reckon it’s not appreciated to its full potential. A staple in your greasy breakfast fry-up, or as a mediocre ‘cream of mushroom soup’, the button mushroom is actually so much better that you might realise. They are high in umami – the taste that makes things savory – and they have a lot of powerful flavour locked inside. One of their characteristics is that they have an extremely high water content, making the flavour rather bland until you have reduced the moisture. I’ve also found that when you fry them in a hot pan with a pinch of salt until they’re dark and caramelised, the flavour is amazingly intense and savory. This is what gave me the idea of doing a roast mushroom soup. It’d be better than the average mushroom soup as it would be a rich golden colour, instead of grey, and the resulting flavour would be all the more powerful. --- * 450g of baby button mushrooms * 1 onion * 3 cloves of garlic * 2 rashers of streaky bacon * 3 sprigs of rosemary * 1 1/2litres of chicken stock * 2 tablespoons of sea salt * 4 tablespoons of olive oil 1. Set 12 mushrooms aside, and slice the rest of them in half. Sprinkle the halved mushrooms with the sea salt so they're evenly covered, then place in a colander set over a bowl. Leave in the fridge for about 6 hours, or overnight. 2. Heat the oven to 180C, and put a medium sized roasting tray in to heat up. Briefly rinse the mushrooms with cold water, then squeeze them with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. Pat them dry with kitchen paper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the roasting tray, then add the mushrooms along with 2 sprigs of rosemary. Roast the mushrooms, tossing occasionally, until they are dark and caramelised. 3. Meanwhile, thinly slice the onion and garlic, and dice the bacon. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium pot and fry the bacon over a high heat until crisp. Turn the heat down and sweat the onion and garlic slowly for about 20 minutes, until soft and sweet. Once the mushrooms are nicely coloured, remove the rosemary from the roasting tray and add the mushrooms to the pan of onions. Add about 1 litre of chicken stock - enough to just cover the mushrooms - and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid, and simmer for 30 minutes, topping up with chicken stock when it reduces too much. Blend the soup in a food processor on full power for 5 minutes, until you have a silky smooth texture. You may need to add a little more stock to get the required consistency. 4. To finish; slice the 12 reserved mushrooms in half, season with salt and sauté them to get a nice roasted colour. Pick the leaves from the remaining rosemary sprig and fry these in olive oil until just crisp. Scatter the mushrooms and rosemary over the soup along with a drizzle of olive oil.

Mum's Tomato Soup This soup is extremely popular in our household, and one of the first recipes I learned off by heart. Probably closer to minestrone than tomato, It’s thick and hearty, guaranteed to fill you up. Instead of pasta, as in a typical minestrone, this soup has a handful of rice thrown in the beginning which swells up to thicken the liquid and give it some body. You could use lentils instead, if you prefer. This is a chunky, broth-like soup rather than being smooth and silky, and although I like to cut all the vegetables to a nice uniform shape and size, you can cut them any old way and be as rustic as you like. As with many soups, the quality of this one comes down to the stock. I will usually make this soup after cooking a joint of smoked gammon or bacon, using the delicious salty liquid as the meaty backbone for my tomatoey broth. I highly advise this, if not then some nice vegetable stock is an acceptable alternative. This soup is best enjoyed with freshly baked bread and butter. As for us, we were treated to Dad’s crusty baguettes, still piping hot from the oven --- * 2litres of smoked ham stock, or vegetable stock * 6 rashers of streaky bacon * 2 carrots * 2 onions * 3 sticks of celery * 30g of basmati rice * 4 cloves of garlic * 1/2 teaspoons of dried thyme * 1/2 teaspoons of dried oregano * 2 400g tins of chopped tomatoes * 2 tablespoons of tomato purée * sea salt and cracked black pepper * a handful of basil or parsley leaves 1. Cut the bacon into lardons and, in a large pot, fry until crispy. Meanwhile, cut the carrot, onion and celery into 5mm dice, and peel and finely chop the garlic. Once the bacon is nice and caramelised, add the onion, garlic and celery. Turn the heat down and sweat gently for 15 minutes, until the onions are soft and dark. Add the basmati rice, carrots, thyme and oregano and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Now add the tomatoes, the tomato purée and the stock. Bring to the boil then simmer gently for 30 minutes. Finish with some torn or chopped basil leaves, then and serve with fresh crusty bread.

Curried Parsnip Soup This curried parsnip soup is the perfect form of resistance against the winter cold; it will warm your aching bones and put a smile on your face, I guarantee it. The chilli gives it a fiery kick which really helps warm you up! The recipe has the unusual addition of coconut - just a hint - which may come as a surprise, but it really transforms the soup and makes it extra delicious. --- * 300g of parsnips, chopped * 2 onions, chopped * 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, chopped * 50g of butter * 1 tablespoon of medium strength curry powder * 1 red chilli, chopped * 1 1/5litres of vegetable or chicken stock * 2 (150g) of floury potatoes, chopped * 1 tablespoon of creamed or dessicated coconut 1. Heat the butter in a saucepan and add the onions and garlic. Cook gently for about 5 minutes without colouring. 2. Add the curry powder and red chilli, along with the stock, and bring to the boil. 3. Add the parsnips, potato and coconut and simmer with the lid on for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. 4. Liquidise until smooth with a blender. 5. For garnish: try a swirl of double cream, and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. Or finely chopped red pepper and chives.