8 February 2012

Winter Warmers...part 1

Well it's been around freezing outside for the last few days and inside, comfort food has been the dish of the day...that's all well and good for dinner/supper time, but lunch?!? Soggy sandwiches or crisp salads just won't do for times like this! 


Which is why I made a batch of my;


 Italian Inspired Veggie Soup...

Ingredients:(please note these change depending on several factors...the season, what's in the veg rack, what's in the fridge...and what I fancy...)

1 leek - sliced
½ onion - chopped
2 celery sticks - chopped
2 carrots - chopped
1-2 courgettes - chopped
handful of green beans
1-2 garlic cloves - crushed
chicken or veg stock - about 1½ pints (I use cubes!!!)
tomato puree - about 2 Tbsp...ish!
Bayleaf - 1
Spring Greens - finely shredded
Salt and Pepper

Pesto and parmesan to serve..

Method:

Soften leek and onions in a tiny bit of water (about 3 Tbsp) for about 5 mins until starting to soften...




Add carrots, garlic and celery - mix, cover and cook for further 10 mins or so.







Add the stock, tomato puree, bayleaf, green beans and courgette, cook for 5 more minutes...





Add the shredded spring greens, season to taste, stir well, put the lid on and simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes longer.





To serve, grate parmesan over the top and add a teaspoon of pesto (to taste).

This soup will keep in the fridge for about 3 days, and freezes pretty well too...you may need to add a touch more stock once defrosted though...


Most importantly, add a yummy homemade bread roll and you're ready to feast!! It's one of my favourite soups, as it's so versatile...

Variations on a theme...here are some 'tweaks' I've made to this base...

Minestrone - (almost) version 1...add some crisped up bacon or pancetta when you add the spring greens. Then about 5 minutes before you are serving add some orzo...just a handful is plenty...

Minestrone - (almost) version 2...add some fresh tortellini...it turns this into a main meal....

Summer version...take out the spring greens and add shredded pointed cabbage, instead of green beans, add runner beans and add a handful or so of petit pois peas 5 mins before serving...

Spicy version...add a drained tin of chickpeas and substitute curry paste for the tomato puree...

But really, this soup can be 'tweaked' to infinity...only the ingredients in my kitchen determine which way it turns out...!!

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