Ahhhh, soup. It’s a nourishing, easy winter meal. I’ve been working at the local supermarket, stocking shelves, for the past 3 months and “my” aisle is the one with all the soups: packaged, powdered, tinned, boxed, microwavable – all the convenient types. And I guess there’s nothing wrong with them, if you like to consume additives and preservatives. Hey, I ate Campbell’s Tomato and Cream of Mushroom at least weekly for the first 30 years of my life. They are actually really tasty! But, here’s the thing. Soup is incredibly easy to make from scratch. I don’t even use a recipe. I get inspired from recipes but I usually just toss stuff in a pot and boil it together. So, ditch the tins this week and try a home-made, from scratch soup. Enjoy!
SUPER EASY PUMPKIN SOUP
A much-loved classic in the South Pacific. When I lived in Canada, I never even heard of using pumpkins in soup before. Canadians, try it and note: you probably call this Butternut Squash.
1 large butternut pumpkin (or any variety will do)
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced or minced
3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock (or water but stock is more flavourful)
Peel the pumpkin and cut into small-medium pieces
Saute the onion & garlic in a little oil
Add the pumpkin and top up with stock (just to barely cover the pumpkin)
Bring to the boil and simmer until soft.
Allow to cool slightly before whizzing smooth with a blender stick or in a glass blender. Add more stock or water to thin if too thick.
Season with salt and pepper before serving.
POTATO & LEEK SOUP
It’s pretty much the same as the pumpkin soup – just peel and chop your veggies and stick them in a pot with some stock. This can be made in a slow-cooker too!
6 white potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 large leeks, white parts only, sliced
2 garlic cloves
1.5 tsp of dried thyme (or a big bunch of fresh stuff)
3-4 cups of chicken stock
S&P to taste
Add all the ingredients to a large pot or slow-cooker.
Stove-top: bring to the boil then simmer until potatoes are cooked. Whizz together until smooth, leaving some chunks if you want. Thin out with stock or water if too thick.
Slow-Cooker: throw all ingredients in cooker and leave on low for 8 hours. Whizz together until smooth.
SPICY TOMATO & LENTIL SOUP
This one is adapted from a recipe published in The Australian Women’s Weekly 21-day diet planner and I’ve shared it before here. The AWW’s version has processed meat in it but I never add that. This one is super yummy.
1 large onion, diced
1 red chilli, diced (unless you like it extra spicy, omit the seeds)
1 TBSP curry paste – I use red curry or korma paste
2 cups of chicken stock
2 cups of water
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
100g of red lentils, rinsed
150g baby spinach
fresh coriander for garnish
Saute the onion & chilli until soft. Add the curry paste and stir until fragrant.
Add the stock, water, tomatoes and lentils; bring to the boil.
Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are soft.
Stir in spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
Top with coriander before serving.