When it’s cold outside, there’s no better meal than soup. Making for a speedy lunch or a warming dinner, it’s so easy to pack a good soup full of nutrition and you’d find it pretty difficult to make a high calorie one. Here are a few of our favourites for the winter time.
Winter Vegetable and Lentil Soup
Tip 85g dried red lentils, 2 quartered and diced carrots, 3 sliced celery sticks and 2 sliced leeks into a large pan with 2 tbsp tomato purée, 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, 3 chopped garlic cloves, 1 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder and 1 heaped tsp ground coriander.
Pour over 1½ litres boiling water from the kettle, then stir well. Cover and leave to simmer for 30 mins until the vegetables and lentils are tender.
Ladle into bowls and eat straightaway, or if you like a really thick texture, blitz a third of the soup with a hand blender or in a food processor.
Celeriac, Hazelnut and Truffle Soup
You will need: 1 tbsp olive oil, small bunch thyme, 2 bay leaves, 1 onion, 1 fat garlic clove, chopped, 1 celeriac (about 1kg), peeled and chopped, 1 potato (about 200g), chopped, 1l veg stock,100ml soya cream, 50g blanched hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped, 1 tbsp truffle oil, plus an extra drizzle to serve.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a low heat. Tie the thyme sprigs and bay leaves together with a piece of string and add them to the pan with the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 10 mins until softened but not coloured.
Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 min more, then tip in the celeriac and potato. Give everything a good stir and season with a big pinch of salt and white pepper. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then simmer for around 30 mins until the vegetables are completely soft.
Discard the herbs, then stir through the cream, remove from the heat and blitz until completely smooth. Stir through 1/2 tbsp truffle oil at a time and taste for seasoning – the strength of the oil will vary, so it’s better to start with less oil and add a little at a time.
To serve, reheat the soup until piping hot, then ladle into bowls and top with the hazelnuts, some black pepper and an extra drizzle of truffle oil.
You will need: leek, green top left whole, white finely sliced, small bunch fresh thyme, 3 bay leaves, bunch parsley, stalks whole, leaves roughly chopped, 2 strips of orange peel, 1 mild red chilli, 4 tbsp olive oil, 2 onions, chopped, 1 leek, 1 fennel, fronds picked and reserved, fennel chopped, 4 garlic cloves, minced, 1 tbsp tomato purée, 1 star anise, 2 tbsp Pernod, optional, if you have it, 4 large, ripe tomatoes, chopped, large pinch (⅓ tsp) saffron strands, 1½ l fish stock (see our recipe), 100g potato, one peeled piece, 1kg of filleted mixed Mediterranean fish, each fillet cut into large chunks, 300g mussels, 2 garlic cloves, 1 small chunk of red chilli (optional), small pinch saffron, 1 piece of potato, cooked in the broth, (see above), 1 egg yolk, 100ml olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice.
Use a layer of the green part of the leek to wrap around and make a herb bundle with the thyme, bay, parsley stalks, orange peel and chilli. Tie everything together with kitchen string and set aside.
Heat the oil in a very large casserole dish or stock pot and throw in the onion, sliced leek and fennel and cook for about 10 mins until softened. Stir through the garlic and cook for 2 mins more, then add the herb bundle, tomato purée, star anise, Pernod if using, chopped tomatoes and saffron. Simmer and stir for a minute or two then pour over the fish stock. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer, then add the piece of potato. Bubble everything gently for 30 mins until you have a thin tomatoey soup. When that piece of potato is on the brink of collapse, fish it out and set aside to make the rouille.
While the broth is simmering make the rouille by crushing the garlic, chilli and saffron with a pinch of salt in a mortar with a pestle. Mash in the cooked potato to make a sticky paste then whisk in the egg yolk and, very gradually, the olive oil until you make a mayonnaise-like sauce. Stir in the lemon juice and set aside.
Once the chunky tomato broth has cooked you have two options: for a rustic bouillabaisse, simply poach your fish in it along with the mussels, if you’re using (just until they open) and serve. For a refined version, remove the herb bundle and star anise. Using a handheld or table-top blender, blitz the soup until smooth. Pass the soup through a sieve into a large, clean pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Starting with the densest fish, add the chunks to the broth and cook for 1 min before adding the next type. With the fish we used, the order was: monkfish, John Dory, grey mullet, snapper. When all the fish is in, scatter over the mussels, if using, and simmer everything for about 5 mins until just cooked and the mussels have opened.
Use a slotted spoon to carefully scoop the fish and mussels out onto a warmed serving platter, moisten with just a little broth and scatter over the chopped parsley. Bring everything to the table. Some people eat it as two courses, serving the broth with croutons and rouille first, then the fish spooned into the same bowl. Others simply serve it as a fish stew. Whichever way you choose the rouille is there to be stirred into the broth to thicken and give it a kick.
Turkey Minestrone Soup
You will need: 2 tsp olive oil, 100g smoked bacon lardons, 1 red onion, finely chopped, 1 carrot, finely chopped, 1 celery stick, finely chopped, 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, 2 bay leaves, 2 thyme sprigs, 300g celeriac (or any other root veg), cut into cubes, 200g potato, cut into cubes, 400g can borlotti beans, drained and rinsed, 1½ l chicken stock or turkey stock, (fresh is best), 350g cooked turkey, 100g orzo, 75g curly kale, shredded.
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large saucepan. Add the bacon and fry over a medium-to-high heat for 4-5 mins or until golden, then set aside.
Put the remaining oil, the onion, carrot, celery and a pinch of salt in the pan. Cook gently over a low heat for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally, until the veg is soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and herbs, and cook for 2 mins more
Tip in the celeriac, potato, borlotti beans and chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 mins. Add the cooked turkey, orzo and the bacon, and cook for 10 mins.
Just before serving, tip in the kale, give everything a good stir and return to the heat for about 2 mins or until the kale has wilted.
Carrot & Ginger Soup
You will need: 1 tbsp rapeseed oil, 1 large onion, chopped, 2 tbsp coarsely grated ginger, 2 garlic cloves, sliced, ½ tsp ground nutmeg, 850ml vegetable stock, 500g carrot, sliced, 400g can cannellini beans (no need to drain), 4 tbsp almonds, in their skins, cut into slivers, sprinkle of nutmeg.
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, ginger and garlic, and fry for 5 mins until starting to soften. Stir in the nutmeg and cook for 1 min more.
Pour in the stock, add the carrots, beans and their liquid, then cover and simmer for 20-25 mins until the carrots are tender.
Scoop a third of the mixture into a bowl and blitz the remainder with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth. Return everything to the pan and heat until bubbling. Serve topped with the almonds and nutmeg.