perfect weather for soup


It’s soup weather again. I am writing recipes for my column on May 25th as we will be shooting this Tuesday. I thought I would post some of my favourite soup recipes from last year. If you’ve got the time and inclination, you can have a beautiful pot of homemade stock simmering all day. Make enough and you’ll be able to freeze the extra. If you’re short on time, there are great quality prepared stocks available from delis and supermarkets. Or try my quick microwave chicken stock –ready in thirty minutes. It’s a great way to use the last bits of a roast chicken. Pick one up on the way home, and don’t forget to make this stock every time you have a roast chook.

Another family favourite is minestrone, full of vegetables, beans and pasta. Think of this as a foundation recipe. Then add whatever you have at hand. It’s a great way to use up the last of the vegies in the fridge. I like to make a stock with a big, meaty ham hock, then shred the meat and add it back into the soup at the end. A dollop of fresh basil pesto, stirred in at the table, gives a refreshing flavour hit. Remember that the cooked pasta continues to swell up, so any leftover soup will end up thicker. Simply add more stock for the desired consistency.

For a great way to enjoy fish in the colder months, try the Mediterranean fish soup.

And if you’re moping around with a cold, the chicken noodle soup will provide a great pick me up. It’s full of goodness and nourishing. And that’s how it is with soups.

Mediterranean fish and Chorizo soup

Fish stock is easy and quick to make. Ask your fishmonger for two fish heads, clean and rinse well, and discard the gills. Place in a stockpot with  sliced onion,  chopped carrot, some sliced leek and celery, a few parsley stalks, bay leaf, thyme sprig, some black peppercorns and half a cup of dry white wine. Cover with cold water and bring slowly to a simmer, then skim. Simmer for 20 minutes then remove from heat and strain through a fine sieve over a large bowl. Cool, then refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

800 g thick boneless fish fillets (trevally, blue eye, ling etc)

3 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, sliced

3 chorizo sausages, sliced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2 red capsicums, sliced

1 tsp Spanish paprika

2 bay leaves

6 thyme sprigs

1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves

600 g small potatoes, cut in quarters

400 g tin diced tomatoes

1.5 litres fish stock

Sea salt and pepper

3 tbsp flat parsley leaves

Cut the fish into large chunks.

Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onion, chorizo, garlic and capsicum and cook for five minutes, until softened. Add the paprika, herbs and potatoes, and coat in the oil. Add the tomatoes and stock. Cover and simmer for fifteen minutes, until the potatoes are cooked. Add the fish and cook for about four minutes or until the fish is opaque. Season with salt and pepper.

serves 6.

My chicken noodle soup for 2009

This is my home remedy for the common cold. Based on a Charmaine Solomon recipe, it is full of goodness with loads of garlic and lemon juice and the easiest chicken stock you’ll ever make. Add whatever takes your fancy; I like udon noodles with lots of chicken and sliced chilli for extra kick. Perfect for when you’re feeling all grumbly and sorry for yourself or when your partner is in the throes of a ‘man cold’.

1 roast chicken

1 carrot, peeled and sliced

1 leek, sliced

1 celery stick, sliced

1 onion, sliced

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon cracked black pepper

2 cups well washed coriander leaves, including stems and roots

2 tablespoons lemon juice

450g packet fresh udon noodles (or your choice)

1 cup fresh bean sprouts

2 spring onions, sliced

1 red chilli, sliced

Pull the chicken meat off the bones and set aside. Place the skin, bones and the carcass in a large microwave safe bowl. Add the carrot, leek,onion and celery. Pour in enough water to come up over the bones. Cover with cling wrap and cook on high (100%) for 30 minutes.

Place garlic, salt, pepper, coriander and lemon juice in a small food processor and whiz together to form a rough paste.

When stock is ready, strain through a fine sieve into a medium saucepan. Discard the bones.

Add the chicken and noodles and cook gently to heat through.

Remove from heat, ladle into deep soup bowls and add 1 tablespoon of coriander paste (or more, to taste). Garnish with bean sprouts, spring onion and chilli.

Serves 4.

Sunday night Minestrone

This is our Sunday night staple during the colder months. It’s also a great way to clean out the fridge of leftover vegies and pasta. To make your own ham stock, get a large ham hock from the market deli, put it into a stock pot with an onion, a piece of carrot, celery and some fresh herbs, cover with water and cook over a low heat for a few hours. (You won’t need any salt, as the ham is quite salty). Strain the stock through a colander. Keep the hock and shred the ham for the soup.

2 tbs olive oil

1 leek, sliced

1 red onion, sliced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 celery stalks, sliced

2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

1.5 litres homemade ham stock (see recipe above)

400g tin crushed tomatoes

400g tin cannelini beans, drained and rinsed

75g tubetti pasta, cooked al dente

1-2 cups shredded ham from the hock

fresh basil pesto to serve

Heat oil in a large pot, add vegetables and sauté for a few minutes.

Add stock and tomatoes and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add beans, pasta and ham and heat through.

Remove from heat, ladle into deep bowls, dollop with a spoonful of basil pesto and serve.

Serves 4 -6.

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