Soup tends to feature at lunchtime quite often at this time of year. It's not too heavy which is a relief after all the food over Christmas and New Year, and it's comforting and warming too.
These are three classic farmhouse soups that you should definitely put on the menu over the next few weeks...
French Onion Soup
Making a good Onion Soup is all about the stock. Homemade stock will undoubtedly be the tastiest, so if you've had a roast chicken then be sure to make up a delicious stock with the bones plus some roughly chopped leeks, carrot, celery and onions. For a veggie stock, omit the chicken and add a few extra veggies like red pepper, fennel or perhaps mushrooms.
- 1kg onions, finely sliced
- 100g butter
- 50ml white wine
- Small bunch of thyme, leaves picked
- Sea salt
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onions and cook gently until the onions turn translucent
- Add the wine and simmer for a minute or two
- Add stock a ladle at a time until you get the soup to the consistency you like (I quite like mine thick)
- Simmer for 15-20 mins, then add the thyme leaves and season to taste.
The classic way to serve this soup is with cheese toasts...for this, I simply make cheese on toast under the grill, using gruyere cheese and sourdough bread, whilst the soup is simmering away.
Parsnip, Apple & Ginger Soup
I tried this recipe from Riverford over Christmas, and I have to say it is delish! I always enjoy parsnip soup, but I do get a bit bored with the spices that are usually added, so this was a refreshing change. The Riverford team describe it as a "soup to chase away the winter blues", and I have to agree with them. Have a look at the recipe on their website.
Leek & Potato Soup
I was a bit disparaging about the blandness of leek & potato soup until I made some whilst on a cookery course. I'm now a convert and would urge you to give it another try if, like me, you have become somewhat uninspired by leek and potato soup over the years.
- 25g butter
- 100g onion, chopped
- 200g leek, chopped (top tip, just use the white parts and use the green parts to make your stock)
- 150g potato, peeled and chopped
- 500-600ml stock
- Melt the butter, then on a low heat add the onions and leeks and cook gently
- Once the onions and leeks are softened and the onions are becoming translucent, add the potatoes and 500ml of the stock
- Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 mins until the potatoes are cooked through
- Liquidise the soup really well - this is the key to a great soup! I put mine in the liquidiser for about a minute so that it gets really smooth.
- Add the cream and, if needed, a little extra stock to thin out the soup.
- Season well - I think this is the problem a lot of us have with leek & potato soup - it is often under seasoned, so be a bit more generous than you normally would!
- 25ml double cream