Over the next couple of days I am going to be posting some of my most used soup recipes, so I thought that I would write a little piece about the Greatness of the Simple Vegetable Soup. “Sounds like a bit of an exaggeration”, you might think. You would be wrong. Because, from the basics of a few everyday items (onions, carrots and leek [most people add celery too, but that can be frightening for a starter as it is not something you use every day, also it is not necessary]) you can make a platform of infinite possibility.
Ideally you want to sweat these ingredients for 20-30 minutes (in butter on a low heat in a pan with the lid on and occasional stir), before you go onto making your full soup. But if you don’t have the time you can go the easy way and cook the whole thing in about 20 minutes. One big advantage of this is that you don’t kill the vibrancy of the vegetables and the tastes are more distinguishable.
Another thing to look out for is Potato. It doesn’t contribute much to the flavour of the soup, but it adds 2 main things and should be cooked at the beginning with the others base ingredients. One: regardless of whether you are pureeing your soup or not it adds carbs and makes the soup more filling. Two: if you do blend the soup, the starch of the potatos will thicken it, some people prefer this texture. P.S. Lentils also do the trick, but take around 20 minutes alone to boil in water. As to the blending itself, that is completely up to you. Some people like it a bit more chunky whereas some prefer it smooth.
When it comes to soup I am a bit of a purist and don’t like to add much additional flavour, e.g. herbs or spices, to my veg apart from stock. The advantage of this is that it really lets the the taste of the veg come out. Of course there are exceptions. As a side note to the stock, the better it is; the better the soup. At the same time, I have made great tasting soup with oxo cubes.
So let’s talk about the veg. I think that there are very few veg that have never been tried for a soup, because as itself a soup or stock doesn’t carry too dominant a flavour and therefore lets you blend tastes in very nicely. I don’t want to say that “this is the way you should do it”, but what I suggest is that you look at combinations in which your chosen veg usually gets cooked and then experiment with how you like it to taste and what you think might work when you translate those flavours to a soup.
For those of you who have read some of my previous food posts, you might know that I don’t like to give too exact instructions or if you want to put it the other way: I prefer to encourage individual creativity. In the long run this will give you a much better feel for cooking.
Going back to our soup, I just want to finish off by saying that it is such a quick and simple thing to make, and therefore perfect for preparing in batches for a light dinner in the evening (when you come home from work and can’t be bothered to cook) or for taking to work (100x cheaper and healthier than take away). Great flavour, cheap and easy to make. That is the the Greatness of the Simple Vegetable Soup.