Soup time…


confession… some are mine, some are from the internet and some from my recipe collection

Winter is starting to impose its grip… such a romantic notion in this age of over heated houses and work places air-conditioned to within an inch of everything.


But, lets pretend anyway that we must brave the cold, slip into our corduroy pants, pull on the heavy duty jumper, drag the woollen hat low over our head and slip into the leather gloves. We are ready to walk outside.


Mind you there are still some things that need us to do all that, shopping in the markets, the farmers markets and maybe a bit of football. Its soup time, and that means its also bread time.


Soup is easy, not even starting to be complicated, unless you make the choice of making your own stock, not a bad idea but I am hard pressed to believe that many of you would do that, even though it is way better with a much richer taste. But lets assume that you forgo this challenge and decide to use stock powder or a liquid stock (please read the ingredients!). Or in some cases, no stock at all.


But, should I be wrong, unlikely I know and thanks for that! Then I am following with a couple of stock recipes…


White Stock

*this stock is used as the base for many sauces

*it is a great flavour booster for any dish that needs some richness

*pasta sauces taste great when a splash or two are added

*keep it in the freezer in ice cube trays and thaw when you want to use it.

*can be made from veal, chicken, lamb or game.

*it’s called white because the bones and vegetables are not browned in the oven

*bouquet garni is described in the herb section

*if making chicken stock, do add the skin, it has lots of flavour and the fat can be removed later.

*lamb bones make a good stock but should be reserved for lamb dishes.


2 – 3 kg’s (4 – 6 lbs) veal, chicken, lamb, bones. You chose, but for chicken buy a soup bird from any Asian chicken shop.

2 white or brown onions quartered

2 carrots (don’t bother to peel them, just make sure they are clean) quartered

2 stalks of celery cut into 5cm lengths

large bouquet garni

10 peppercorns (white or black are ok)

1 or 2 cloves garlic, peeled but not chopped (you want the flavour and sweetness)

3 – 4 litres of water.

Use a pan that is non corrosive and put all the ingredients in together, bring slowly to the boil and turn to simmer, the pot should simmer with the lid on to start as you are getting the bones to give off their flavour, later remove the lid, simmer for 4 – 5 hours. In the last hour, use a metal skimmer (a round flat disc with a handle with holes) to remove any scum that rises.

Strain the stock through a conical sieve and place it in the fridge, this way the fat will rise and set on the top and can be easily removed.

Brown Stock

*this stock is usually made with beef bones, rich game bones can be substituted, a brown veal stock can also be made

*you can reduce this stock over a long time, it then becomes what is known as ‘jus’ it is of course simply a concentrate… if you make more stock than you need, try reduction, it definitely adds great flavour to a sauce.

*the secret is browning, this is caramelising the sugars and it is what brings the colour and flavour

*get your butcher to crush the bones if you can, its easier to get them to brown.

*store this stock in the deep freeze, even the ‘jus’.


2 – 3 kg (4 – 6 lbs) bones …  beef, veal, game all cut small and crushed if possible

2 onions quartered

2 carrots quartered

2 stalks of celery in 5 cm pieces

large bouquet garni

10 peppercorns (white or black)

1 – 2 cloves of garlic peeled but not chopped

3 – 4 litres of water (don’t add wine with this stock, it should have a flavour that is rich and strong enough without it)

In a baking dish, put the bones and vegetables, turn the oven to 230°c and roast the bones and vegetables (you may need just a splash of oil) until they have all become browned, don’t be shy about this, you must brown them well).

Remove the bones and vegetables and place them in a stock pot, put the baking dish over the gas or electricity on the stove top, add enough water to scrape from the pan all the juices and browning and make sure they are well dissolved.

Add this water and the rest of the water along with the herbs and garlic to the stock pot and bring to the boil for 4 – 5 hours slowly to get all the flavour, remove any scum that rises.

Just a tip, if you want a great tasting extra brown stock, put half of one of the onions on a cooking fork and barbecue it over a gas flame until it is really brown, toss it into the stock pot and the flavour will be great.

So, now you’ve made the stock. Easy. But a word or two about the stock cube/powder that you use. Many of these powders are made from chemicals or at best a lot of chemicals in the end the stock powders that I prefer are made by a Swiss Company and have at least a modicum of reality. Just be sure that you are not taking too much chemical into your already chemically challenged bodies. That said I have to confess that I often add a bit of chicken stock to dishes, powder form… just be very aware of the high salt content, but even in a simple pasta sauce that is somewhat lacking in depth, this can lift it. In a meat gravy a spoon full first of vegemite is the first line of getting a good flavour, the second is some beef stock powder. Of course those liquid stocks claiming to be ‘natural’ should be closely scrutinised.


Soups are a great source of food and given that todays world is not leaving any of us with much time, they can be made quickly and even with scant ingredients, be great food. I have included a bunch of simple soups and some that are more complex, none are hard and I urge you to give them a go.


Just before that, good soup demands good bread. A whole subject in its own right, just hunt down the best you can find have it warm and crusty and in my case, with a slather of butter or oil.



Thick Cordoban Gazpacho

Serves 6

Difficulty: easy


6 tomatoes, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup sherry vinegar

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon salt

2 day-old country-style bread rolls, about 3 ounces each, torn into pieces and soaked into 1 cup water for 10 minutes, or 2 fresh rolls, torn into pieces

1 egg yolk (optional)

3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and finely chopped

3 ounces spanish ham, finely chopped


In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and soaked bread and any remaining water (or fresh bread) and mix well.

Working in batches if necessary, add the tomato mixture to a blender or food processor and process at high speed until smooth. For an specially smooth texture, pass the pureed mixture through a food mill fitted with the medium plate, and then, if desired, return it to the blender or processor, add the egg yolk, and process until thoroughly incorporated.

Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until well chilled.

Just before serving, taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt.  Ladle into chilled soup plates, garnish with the chopped eggs and ham, and serve.


Potato And Leek Soup

4 large leeks that you have trimmed top and bottom then sliced thickly and put into a bowl of cold water to rid them of the dirt that clings

50 gr (1 1/2oz) butter

2 medium potatoes (not too small) peeled and diced

1 medium onion, chopped small

850mil (28floz) of chicken or vegetable stock

275 mil (9floz) milk

salt and pepper

Put the butter in a heavy based saucepan and melt, add the leeks and onions and cook over a ,moderate heat until they begin to become clear, they should not brown, add the potatoes and stir them around coating them with the butter. Put the lid on the pan and allow the whole lot to sweat over a low heat for about 15 minutes, give them a stir occasionally.

Add the stock and the milk and bring all to the boil, turn the heat down and put the lid back on, now simmer for a further 20 – 30 minutes until all the vegetables have become soft.

Use your hand held liquidiser and process the soup until it is thick and creamy, return to the heat and bring back to the boil, but don’t overcook, it will burn easily now.

Serve it with chives or put it in the fridge for the next day and call it vichyssoise, serve it cold with some sour cream swirled in. Very versatile.

Cold Soup From Andalusia

1 1/4 kg (2lb 8oz) of fresh ripe tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped or equivalent Italian tinned tomatoes

1 green capsicum seeded (and peeled with the potato peeler) and chopped

1 medium red onion coarsely chopped

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

5 – 6 tblspn good red wine vinegar (don’t try this with brown or white vinegar, it will not be the same)

3 large cloves of garlic minced

1 1/4 cups of tomato juice

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 thick slice of good day old crusty bread, crusts removed and soaked in water then squeezed dry

salt and pepper


In a bowl put the tomatoes, green capsicum, onions, cucumber, vinegar, tomato juice, olive oil and bread, using a hand held blender, puree the mixture until it is very smooth. Season with salt and pepper and chill.

Meanwhile make a garnish… Fry some more of that day old bread, this time cut into 1cm dice, in some olive oil that has been flavoured with garlic, drain and set aside the croutons. Chop some more cucumber into a fine dice along with some red capsicum and tomato to make 1 1/2 cups in all.

Serve the soup in a great ice bowl (you can make it yourself by putting two plastic bowls together and filling the intervening space with water, set it in the freezer, you can even float some flowers or herbs in the water, lightly oil the inside of one plastic bowl and the outside of the top bowl to make it easier to remove. Or, if this is too much trouble, ask your friends for a great terracotta bowl for a present, chill it well and serve it in that with the garnish floating on top.

Ham Soup With White Beans

One of those great winter soups that you can make a meal of and leave the table deeply satisfied.

155gr (5oz) dried white beans

6 – 8 stems from Italian flat leafed parsley (you should always keep these, they are so handy to use in a flavour base, just freeze them when you have cut the leaves off and get them out when you want them)

pinch of dried thyme

2 bay leaves

1 tblspn virgin olive oil

125gr (4oz) thickly sliced smoked bacon cut into a 50mm dice

1 medium onion chopped

3 cloves garlic chopped finely

2 smoked ham hocks (available from most delicatessens)

4 tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped or 1 1/2 cups Italian tinned tomatoes drained and chopped

6 cups good chicken stock (see above)

3 fresh mint stems, bruised with the back of your kitchen knife

salt and black pepper

5 tblspns chopped fresh mint


Cover the white beans with water and soak overnight. Next day, place them in a pot with the parsley. Thyme, bay leaves and enough water to cover the beans by 4 cm. Cook the beans on a simmer for 35 – 45 minutes.

In another pot, add the olive oil and fry the onion and bacon until the onion is soft, add the garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes, add the ham hocks, tomatoes, chicken stock and mint stems, simmer for 1 hour.

Add the beans and continue to simmer for a further hour. Remove the parsley, mint stems and bay leaves. Take the ham hocks out, remove the skin and return the meat to the soup, do not ad the bones. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the chopped fresh mint.


Onion Soup From Tuscany

4 large white onions

4 medium leeks well washed to get rid of all the grit and dirt

125gr (4oz) pancetta in one piece

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

6 cups of good chicken stock

3 tblspns of balsamic vinegar

1 cup good red wine

salt and pepper

6 slices of good Tuscan style bread

2 cloves garlic peeled

parmesan cheese to taste

2 tblspns chopped fresh parsley


Peel the onions, cut into very thin slices, cut the leek into 50mm slices, after you have cleaned and dried them, use about 6cm of the green and all the white. The pancetta will be in a roll, unroll it and cut into 25mm slices.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, add the pancetta and cook until some fat has been rendered, add the onions and leeks, cook for 15 minutes, add the stock and simmer for 30 minutes.

Just before serving, add the vinegar and red wine, salt and pepper. Rub the bread, one slice for each bowl, with the garlic, toast lightly and place in the bottom of each bowl, pour the soup into the bowl on top of the bread, garnish with the chopped parsley and shave some parmesan onto each bowl (use the potato peeler).

Butternut Squash, Carrot And Coriander Soup

1kg (2lb) of butternut squash

3 tblspns olive oil

1 large onion chopped

1 tspn paprika

1 1/2 tspns ground cumin

3/4 tspn turmeric

1 tspn ground coriander

sat and pepper

4 large carrots, trimmed peeled and coarsely chopped

1 tspn sugar

3 cups chicken stock

3 cups of water

1/2 cup plain yoghurt

2 tblspns fresh chopped coriander leaves


Preheat the oven to 180°c/360°f

Cut the squash in half, place it on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 45 – 60 minutes until the squash is soft and you can spoon out the flesh.

In a soup pot, heat the oil, cook the onion until soft for 10 minutes, add the paprika, cumin, turmeric, coriander, salt and pepper, fry for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, add the squash, carrots and sugar, fry for a further 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and water, bring to the boil, reduce and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes until the carrots are soft.

Puree in a blender in several batches until the soup is smooth and light. You can thin the soup with extra stock if it is too thick.

Season with the yoghurt, salt and pepper and stir well. Serve in bowls with chopped coriander on top and a swirl of yoghurt.

This soup improves if made the day before you want to eat it.


Scotch Broth

1kg (2lb) neck lamb cut into even sized pieces you can use lamb shanks if you would like, 4 good sized or 6 small ones would be about right for this recipe

1.75 litres of cold water

50gr (1 1/2oz) pearl barley

1 large carrot

1 medium turnip or parsnip

1 medium onion,

3 leeks

1/2 small white cabbage

salt and pepper


Place the meat in the cold  water, bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface, add the rinsed barley and simmer with the lid ajar (slightly off to one side so that the steam can escape) for an hour.

Prepare the vegetables by peeling and cutting them into a 5mm dice. Wash the leeks well and cut into disks 5mm thick. Shred the cabbage finely.

Add the vegetables to the brother and cook until they are tender 45 – 60 minutes.

Remove the meat bones from the soup and return any meat to the soup. Drain any fat from the top of the soup by tilting it to one side.


Sprinkle the top with parsley and serve.

Cream Of Celery Soup

350gr (11oz) trimmed celery stalks, leaves reserved

110gr(3 3/4oz) potatoes peeled and cit into chunks

white part only of two medium sized leeks, cut into rings and washed well.

25gr (1oz) butter

600mil (20floz) good chicken stock

1/4 tspn of celery seeds (from the herb section of most markets)

150mil (5floz) cream

150mil (5floz) milk

salt and pepper to taste


In a soup pot, melt the butter, add the chopped celery, leeks and potatoes to the pan and toss them well in the melted butter, place the lid on the pan and cook gently for 15 minutes to soften.

Add then stock with the celery seeds and some salt, bring to a simmering point and cook gently for 20 – 25 minutes until the vegetables are really tender.

Puree the soup with a hand held processor, return to the pan and add the milk and cream, add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve each bowl with a leaf or two of the celery floating on top for extra flavour.

White Kidney Bean And Silver beet Soup

225gr (7oz) silver beet


2 flat anchovy fillets

1/4 tspn dried rosemary or a small sprig of fresh rosemary

6 tblspns extra virgin olive oil

2 whole cloves garlic, peeled

90gr (3oz) white kidney beans soaked and cooked as per normal. (soak overnight, cook for 45 – 60 minutes until soft and tender)

black pepper

90gr  (3oz) short tubular pasta 1cm long

30gr (1oz)  freshly grated parmesan cheese


Wash and trim the silver beet well, trim the ends that are discoloured. Put the silver beet in a pan with just the water clinging to it, add 1 tspn of salt and place the lid on. Cook over medium heat until tender. Drain, reserving all the cooking liquid, chop the silver beet coarsely.

Chop the anchovy fillets with the dried rosemary (if using fresh rosemary don’t chop it). Put the olive oil and garlic in a small pan, fry over very low heat until the garlic just begins to colour, add the anchovies and rosemary. Stir for a few minutes and remove the garlic and if using fresh rosemary, discard that too.

Put the coarsely chopped silver beet in a pan with the oil, fry for a few minutes stirring to coat well with the oil, add the cooked beans and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes.

Add the reserved cooking liquid from the silver beet and enough water or chicken stock if you have some to come up to about 12 cm deep, bring the liquid to the boil add the pasta and cook until this is al dente. Correct the seasoning.

Mix in the grated cheese and serve with a good crusty bread with some extra virgin olive oil drizzled on top of each bowl of soup.

Green Soup

1 onion, peeled and chopped finely

30g (1oz) butter

1 tablespoon flour

2 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock

salt and freshly ground pepper

outer leaves of2 large lettuces, shredded

1 handful spinach or sorrel leaves

stalks from 2 small bunches of watercress

1/4 cups milk, scalded

3 tablespoons cooked peas

2 to 3 tablespoons cream

to serve:

1 teaspoon freshly chopped mint


Sauté the onion in the butter until soft, then stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and bring to the boil while stirring. Season with salt and pepper, stir through the greens and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth, return the soup to the saucepan, add the milk, adjust the seasoning and cook until heated through, spoon the peas and cream into a warmed soup tureen, pour the soup over and serve topped with chopped mint.


Chicken Broth

The stock, about 1 litre, from the steamed fowl then the bones and skin returned to the stock for a further boiling to give you a very hearty and rich chicken stock.

3 tblspns finely diced carrot

2 tblspns finely chopped onion

50 gr of white rice

150 mil of thick cream


Place all the ingredients except the cream into the pan, simmer until the vegetables are cooked, add the cream, salt and pepper and serve.

It is that simple.


French Onion Soup

500 gr of brown onions cut into slices

60 gr butter

1 tblspn of flour

1/4 tspns of sugar (it helps the onions brown)

1 litre of goof, well flavoured beef stock, use the cubes if you have to, watch the salt, a spoon or two of beef extracts in the stock will also enrich it.

1 fresh bread stick or loaf

parmesan or gruyere cheese


Melt the butter in the bottom of a good heavy saucepan, add the onions and the sugar, cook slowly to a good brown so that they are almost melting, add the flour and stir to distribute and cook the flour a little, add the stock and vermouth (if using) and cook at a simmer with the lid off, for 30 minutes.

Toast slices of the bread and top with a generous quantity of cheese, place these in the bottom of a soup bowl, top with the soup and place them quickly under the griller to melt and brown the cheese slightly.

A Soup Base For A Variety Of Cream Soups

750 mil of good white stock (veal or chicken)

1 medium white onion cut into dice or 1 leek washed and cut into rings

30 gr of butter

25 gr  of flour

salt and pepper to taste.

herb of your choice


The vegetable possibilities are…

*lettuce, use two medium heads chopped fine, add sorrel for extra flavour

*watercress, 2 large bunches of cress.

*spinach (English) 500 gr of spinach add some grated nutmeg and basil

*cucumber, 2 – 3 large, peeled and cut into a dice, seeds removed, flavour with mint.

*asparagus,  30 – 40 spears, cut into a 2cm dice,

*2 white onions, baked in foil in the oven, cooled and diced.

*carrot, wrap them in foil and cook in the oven for 1 hour, chop them finely.

*mushroom, 220 gr of finely chopped mushroom of your choice, sweated in a closed pan until soft.


Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion to sweat with the lid on, add the vegetable of choice to sweat in the butter, also with the lid on, stir in the flour until it is well amalgamated. Add the stock and bring back to the boil. Boil for about 30 minutes or until the vegetable of choice is cooked. Puree the mixture and return to the pan with the addition of 125 mil of cream, salt and pepper.


Cream of celery and celeriac soup

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium brown onion, chopped

1 bunch celery, trimmed, washed, chopped

1 medium celeriac bulb, trimmed, peeled, chopped

250 gr coliban potatoes, peeled, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1.5 litres chicken stock

3/4 cup pure cream

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leave


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion. Cook,

stirring, for 2 minutes or until onion starts to soften. Add celery,

celeriac, potato and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until

lightly browned.

Increase heat to high. Add stock. Cover. Bring to the boil. Reduce

heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until celery is

tender. Remove from heat. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.

Process soup, in batches, until smooth.

Return soup to pan over medium heat. Stir in cream. Season with

pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until heated

through. Serve topped with parsley.


Spinach & potato soup

Ingredients (serves 6)

1 leek, chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbs olive oil

1 tbs ground cumin

1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock

2 cups (500ml) water

400 gr coliban potatoes, peeled, chopped

2 bunches English spinach, trimmed, chopped

Swirl of thickened cream and purchased croutons, or warm crusty roll, to serve


Sauté 1 leek, chopped, and 3 garlic cloves, crushed, in 1 tbs olive oil in a saucepan. Stir in 1 tbs ground

cumin. Add 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock, 2 cups (500ml) water, 400g coliban potatoes, peeled, chopped.

Bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to medium and simmer uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until the potato is tender. Stir in 2

bunches English spinach, trimmed, chopped, until bright green in colour and wilted. Cool slightly. Place

soup in a food processor and process until smooth.

Return the spinach & potato soup to the saucepan and stir gently over a low heat until heated through.

Ladle into serving bowls and serve with a swirl of thickened cream and scattered with purchased croutons,

or with a warm crusty roll on the side.


~ by peterwatson on April 30, 2012.

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