Saturday, 14 April 2012

Weekend cooking - Spring soups


It is finally Spring, with birds and flowers slowly making their appearance heard and seen!  I've managed to clear half of my tiny garden in view of the coming season (before a bout of rain yet again forced me to put plans on hold...).  I just love working around the plants (with gloves on, bien sûr, for fear of unwelcome surprises) - but also with the - even tinier - vegetable patch, where primarily herbs but also vegetables sometimes manage to grow to adulthood (i.e. when snails don't get the best of them...). 

Should I be that lucky to actually have vegetables to use, I love making soups this time of the year - the weather is not that warm yet, and a soup in the evening is both comforting and nourishing:

Carrot and red lentil soup

Carrot and red lentil soup with hallumi

700gr grated carrots
100gr red lentils
1/2 teaspoon harissa (dried chili paste) - or according to taste
1.2l of vegetable stock or water

For the vegetable stock, I have the luxury I can find vegetables already cleaned and cut for making stock in my supermarket, otherwise it's roughly 1 potato, 1 onion, 2 celery sticks, 3 leeks, 3 carrots, all cut to small/medium pieces.  I roast the vegetables slightly (to bring out flavours) before putting everything in a huge pot and adding 1.5l water and a bouquet garni (thyme/rosemary/bay leaf) - let it boil for about 1 hour, and then I just leave it to cool with the vegetables still in the water.

For the soup now, same simple procedure:  at medium heat, start with about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and harissa.  Immediately put the grated carrots and the lentils and stir for about 1 minute.  Add stock/water, lower heat slightly and let everything bubble away for about an hour.  Let it cool down and blitz.  You can then add milk/cream, but I prefer it pure and then just add a few slices of grilled hallumi cheese instead...


Zucchini soup

Zucchini soup with shrimp
400gr zucchini, cubed
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium potato, cubed
700ml chicken stock or water

I use chicken stock for this recipe, but obviously you can use vegetable stock or water.  I make chicken stock every time I roast a whole chicken.  After roasting, I just put the carcass aside, and let it boil together with 1.5l water, 1-2 carrots, 1 leek, 1-2 celery sticks and a handful of peppercorns.  Let it bubble for about 1 hour and then let it cool with all ingredients in the water.

For the soup: in medium heat, lightly fry all vegetables in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add stock/water, salt/pepper, and let it bubble for about 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Let it cool and blitz.  I like to serve this soup again pure (but you can add milk/cream) with shrimp:  I marinate them in lemon juice, salt/pepper and a little grated ginger, and then lightly fry them.


This post is my entry into Weekend Cooking, a weekly event hosted by Beth Fish Reads.



20 comments:

  1. your soups look good. Guess now that it is spring, it is time to move to the lighter soup recipes. I hope to get some of my garden dug this year. last year it go hot too soon and it was too hot to work at it.

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    Replies
    1. thanks Heather! Yes, garden work has to be accomodated between rain and extreme sun - the joys of nature...

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  2. Both sound lovely. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Great soups. Thanks for the ideas.

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  4. Yum! They are both so pretty. The carrot looks perfect for our rainy day today.

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    1. thanks! same weather here...

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  5. These look great! I did not know what halumi was before. But grilled pieces of cheese in the soup sound really good. :)

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  6. Your soups look wonderful; and I agree , I like spring soups too.

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  7. funny, once the weather gets warmer, I never think of making soups.

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    1. it's not that warm yet here, so there's still room for lighter soups. But you're right, in a little bit I will only be preparing salads!

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  8. I could eat soup every day -- even in the summer! Your soups look really fresh and tasty. Good luck with the garden, I'm hoping to get some work done in mine today (if the rain holds off).

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  9. Your soups look great! I'm too lazy to make my own stock, I always use a cube, but you've intrigued me with the idea of roasting the vegetables first... Hmmmm, maybe a weekend activity!

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    1. You should - it's really easy (I'm super lazy, trust me!)

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  10. That carrot and red lentil soup is calling to me! I'll have to make it the next time I'm in the mood for soup. :)

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    1. indeed, super easy and super good for you! thanks Diana!

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