December 2, 2009

Slurrrrp! - Broccoli Soup; Potato, Leek and Porcini Mushroom Soup; Chicken and Vegetable Soup

A handful of nutrient-packed soups that I've made this past year, all very simple to create - try to use the freshest ingredients available.

Broccoli Soup with Frico Goats Cheese

Serves 4:
- 1kg broccoli
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 50g flaked almonds or walnuts, lightly toasted
- 4 slices soft goats cheese
- Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle

Cut the broccoli into florets. Bring 800ml salted water to the boil in a pan, add the broccoli and simmer for about 4 minutes until tender but still bright green. Drain, reserving the liquid. Whiz the broccoli in a blender, with enough of the liquid to half-fill the goblet, to give a velvety texture. Reheat the soup in the pan, adjust the seasoning. Divide the nuts into warm soup bowls and pour in the soup, to one side. Top with the goats cheese, grind over some pepper and drizzle with olive oil to serve. Watch Gordon Ramsay make it.

Creamy Potato, Leek and Porcini Mushroom Soup

Serves 4:
- 50g dried porcini mushrroms
- 3 cups boiling water
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 leeks, chopped
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 1.5kg floury potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 litre chicken stock
- ½ cup cream
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Toasted bread (try ciabatta or sourdough) and grated Parmesan, to serve

Place dried porcini in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and stand for 10 minutes. Drain porcini, reserving 2 cups soaking liquid. Finely slice porcini. Place saucepan over medium heat, add oil, leek and thyme and cook for 5 minutes, or until leek is soft and golden. Increase heat to high, add sliced porcini, potato, stock and reserved soaking liquid. Cook for 30-35 minutes or until the potatoes begin to break up and naturally thicken the soup. Remove thyme sprigs and stir in cream, salt and peper. Serve with thick slices of toasted bread with parmesan.

Feel-good Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Serves 6:
- 1.5kg free-range organic chicken
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
- 1 rasher of smoked bacon or bacon bones
- Few sprigs of herbs (try thyme or rosemary)
- 150g shitake mushrooms, sliced
- 100g baby corn, roughly chopped
- Sea salt
- Freshly chopped mint leaves and extra virgin olive oil, to serve

Put chicken, carrot, celery and bacon in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer slowly for an hour and a quarter, skimming the white residue off the top every now and again. Remove from the heat, carefully take out and set aside the chicken, then strain the remaining stock through a sieve into another saucepan. Bring to the boil, add herb sprigs, shitake mushrooms, baby corn and simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, tear the chicken into slivers, and add to the soup, along with the strained carrots and celery if you like, season to taste. Serve with fresh mint and a tiny drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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