Soup is a wonderfully nourishing, versatile and convenient way of packing in maximum nutrition. The base for your soup can be either vegetable stock or (my personal preference) bone broth , and you can knock up a fantastically simple and nutritionally complete meal in minutes. Here are some ideas, recipes and inspiration to help you use soup to the max to boost your well being.
In a large (4 litre) pan saute 3 chopped onions, 3 chopped cloves of garlic, 2 chopped carrots and 4 stalks of celery until softened and beginning to caramalise. Add freshly ground pepper, two bay leaves and a large bunch of parsley which has been chopped. Pour over 2 litres of water and bring to the boil. Add any other vegetables that you have to hand – broccoli, kale, cauliflower, root vegetables, tomatoes and peppers all work well. You can even use the peelings of vegetables such as potatos, parsnips, turnips etc. Herbs will also add greatly to the flavour, thyme and oregano being the most adaptable. Cook for about an hour until the stock has taken up the flavour of the vegetables, strain and refrigerate or freeze. This will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
In a large (4 litre) pan, put one onion (halved), one leek, one carrot and 3 sticks of celery, 2 bay leaves and six pepper corns. Place your organic chicken on the veg and cover with cold water. Bring the water slowly to the boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Cover and simmer the chicken for approximately 1 hour, depending on the size of the chicken. The chicken will be cooked when the juices run clear from the inner breast. The chicken can either be left to cool in the water and eaten cold, or removed from the water and served hot. After eating the chicken, return the carcass and all bones to the cooking liquor and bring to the boil again and simmer for at least 3 hours. Strain the stock and keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or freeze until needed.
You can also make stock very successfully from the carcass of a chicken you have roasted. Simply put the carcass into the pan with the vegetables, pepper and bay leaf, cover with water as before and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer. In this case you will need to simmer for approximately 4 hours. Strain and refrigerate or freeze as before. The goodness in the stock comes from the bone marrow and the cartilage, so making stock this way is not less nutritious that using a whole chicken.
To turn your stock into soup, chop one onion, one leek, one carrot and one clove of garlic and sauté in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the vegetables are soft, add your stock and any other vegetables you choose to use. Bring to the boil, simmer until vegetables are soft and then blend.
Some flavour suggestions for you:
Creamy Cauliflower soup: Sauté onion, carrot, celery and leek in a little olive oil until soft and translucent with half a teaspoon of cumin and pour over 1 litre of stock and bring to the boil. Chop one head of cauliflower and add to the stock with half a cup of cashews and a large handful chopped coriander. When the cauliflower is cooked, blend, check for seasoning.
Spiced Squash soup: Sauté onion, carrot, celery and leek in a little olive oil with 1 tsp grated ginger, half a tsp cumin powder and 1 tsp turmeric powder. Pour over one litre of stock and bring to the boil. Add half of one butternut squash, chopped, and a handful of chopped coriander. When squash is cooked, blend, check for seasoning. Delicious with Kale & Sunflower Seed Pesto .
Minestrone: Sauté onion, carrot, celery and leek in a little olive oil until soft and tgranslucent, add large bunch of parsley. Pour over one litre of stock and bring to the boil. Add one can butter or borlotti beans, 2 chopped courgettes, 100g green beans, chopped into 1″ lengths. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Check for seasoning. Serve with large dollop of Kale & Sunflower Pesto.
Cleansing Green Soup: Sauté onion, carrot, celery and leek in a little olive oil until soft and translucent. Pour over one litre of stock and bring to the boil. Add one half head of cabbage, chopped and 3 cups of chopped broccoli. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat and add one large bunch of parsley and 4 large kale leaves, stripped from the stalks and chopped. Blend all the ingredients without cooking the kale or the parsley. Check for seasoning, serve.
Mushroom Soup: Sauté onion, carrot, celery and leek in a little olive oil until soft and translucent. In a separate pan, sauté 200g mixed mushrooms in 2 tblsps oil with one clove of garlic, grated, and a handful of chopped parsley. Add the cooked mushrooms and stock to the sauteed vegetables and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and blend, check for seasoning and serve.