September is the time of year I turn to soup. The salad lunches of summer are cast aside for a bowl of steaming, wholesome and preferably home made broth. There are some soups I make again and again, roast butternut squash being my number one, closely followed by parsnip and parmesan in the winter months. Sometimes however, I like to search out soups I haven’t made before, and this is where my New Covent Garden Food Co Soup for all Occasions Recipe book comes in. This book has lots of classic recipes but they often have a new twist or more exotic or unusual ingredient.
There is still a place for Heinz tomato soup and Cambells condensed mushroom in my cupboard but the joy of home made soup making and eating is hard to beat. The process of melding together vegetables and stock and adding flavours and stirring is therapeutic. A house where soup is being made instantly feels like a home. Ladling soups (and I insist that all soup making must involve a ladle) into containers, attaching labels and then stacking them into the freezer creates an enormous sense of wellbeing*. In my last job we were all soup makers and many a lunch time was spent comparing the soup of the day (oh yes, exciting times!)
Carrot and Cumin
This is a variation on one of my favourite carrot and coriander soups. This is a lovely warming soup with paprika adding a little warmth. This is one of those throw everything into the pan, cook for 20m mins and then add water type of recipes. Its good if you are looking for a change from Carrot and coriander but for me it doesn’t come close to replacing it.
Puy Lentil and Bacon
I love a lentil, but my husband doesn’t so its not something I have very regularly. But, I have discovered that a soup is the perfect way to introduce a bit of lentil loveliness to my life. This soup is delicious, in fact I had it for my lunch today and its so filling that no bread accompaniment is needed – useful if you are trying not to overdose on dough at the moment. Lentils, fried bacon, carrot, onion, tinned tomatoes chicken stock and thyme create a rich warming soup.
Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire Mushroom or Mushroom and Roasted Chestnut
I couldn’t not make this for two reasons. Firstly, the excellent title, even if it does suggest Christmas, although I think that’s the point. Secondly, because I had a packet of vacuum packed chestnuts in the cupboard that have been hanging around for some time now. The combination of mushrooms and chestnuts does not make for a pretty soup even if the selection of mushrooms used were rather beautiful. The resulting colour is akin to muddiness. Fortunately the flavour is anything but. Mushroom soup is still one of my favourites.
If you are have never made soup before and are looking for a guide you could do far worse than seek out one of the New Covent Garden Food Co Books.
Happy stirring, ladling and slurping!
* A little reference to ‘Blur’