Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Soup. Or "How to get warm without pudding"

Lest you think my life is a never-ending parade of dinner parties, restaurant dinners, baking cakes and glamorous travel, (hah!) let me assure you that I do occasionally stay in and eat healthy food.

Bill Granger's Puy Lentil Soup (Sydney Food)

Case in point: I've really gotten into making vegetable soups lately. It's just right for the colder weather, and for me, is a comforting vehicle for heaps of nutrient-filled veggies which would otherwise be ingested, tediously, in salads. I seem to be rotating 3 different soup recipes at the moment, which are all quite similar and tomato-based. I like to make my soups purely vegetarian, (not a meat stock or ham hock in sight!), usually to balance out the carnivorous excesses of the night before.

First, my all-time-favourite, Greg Malouf's chermoula and chickpea soup. (I don't have a photo of that one, but don't worry, all these soups look pretty much the same.) I started making it last year, when I bought a jar of his chermoula, and got a free recipe card with it. I have been making it ever since. It's quite easy; just cook some onions, garlic and green chilli with a spoonful of chermoula, before adding stock, chickpeas, lentils, tomatoes and some herbs and spices. I can't tell you how blown away I was by this soup. He has a similar recipe on his website, with preserved limes in place of the chermoula. (That recipe is here. Enjoy!)

Next up is a padded-out version of Nigella's 'minestrone in minutes', from Nigella Express. Her superexpress version contains a jar of tomato-based pasta sauce, some stock, a tin of beans, and some short pasta, all simmered together. I expanded on this idea by sweating some onions, carrots and herbs first, then adding her ingredients, plus a tin of lentils. It tasted like an idealised version of tinned minestrone. Yum.


Finally, Bill Granger's puy lentil soup. I was scouring his books for healthy recipes when I came across this soup. It requires a LOT of tedious chopping (onions, carrots, celery, leek, parsley, fresh oregano...), but I found it to be a good way to while away a cold and windy afternoon. Just me, the vegetables, my chopping board, and my kickass sharp-as-all-hell santoku knife from Japan.


As with the other soups, you add tomatoes, stock and the legumes (puy lentils in this case) to the sliced-and-diced vegies, and simmer for a good 30 minutes.

Deliciousness and health!

3 comments:

Anna said...

Sarah, all your soups look so deliciously warming, but also healthy!
I adore soup!
:-)

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

That soup (plural) look fab. I'm such a sucker for lentil soup (always trying to find the ultimate recipe) and what better time to experiment than winter? And you're right, you can get so many veges in there without even realising it...which can only be a good thing:)

Ange said...

Ditto, was just getting ready to share my soup thoughts with the world too! Love this soup & have Nigella express so will try the quick minestrone soon too. Was also trying to tell my mum today that we were quite happy having veggie soups for dinner & didnt feel the need for meat in every meall - she strongly disagreed & to this day if I cook for them which I do once or twice a week I have to include meat in the menu!