Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Hearty Vegetable Soup

A firm favourite for colder weather is our hearty vegetable soup.  It's a simple dish to make as it uses one pot and can be made with whatever vegetables you have around.

We start by gathering all the vegetables we are going to use as the base - usually crushed garlic, onions, carrots, leeks, swede, potatoes and sometimes including celery.  These are then chopped/sliced into similar sized pieces by Sous Chef J.  Whilst he is doing this the garlic and onion is sweated in a good dollop of butter (you can use dairy free alternative if you need to) in a heavy based, large pan.  Then about 2 Tablespoons of tomato puree is added to this and cooked off on a low heat and incorporated fully.  Next, the base vegetables are stirred into the tomato/onion mix and a good amount of ground pepper is added.  These are warmed through for about five minutes and then at least two pints of vegetable stock are poured in (we often use Marigold Vegetable Swiss Bouillon gluten free powder to make up the stock.)  The amount of stock used depends on how many veg are in the soup mix.

The soup is then covered and brought to the boil before being simmered for about 20 minutes.  At this point, the peas (we use frozen) and chopped white cabbage can be added for about 4 minutes to cook through before serving.  We top with grated cheese and serve.

If you are not going to eat all of the soup at one sitting (we rarely do), the amount required for eating can be ladled into another, smaller pan, where the peas and/or cabbage are added.... this means that the peas retain their lovely green colour and the soup looks fresh and appetising when it's served.  The remainder of the soup can be cooled and stored in the fridge for a couple of days or frozen.  It's a great way to use up root veg and is a welcome burst of colour on a dreary day!

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