Primal leek and potato soup

primal-leek-potato-soup

This leek and potato soup is a satisfying dish. It manages to be smooth and creamy texture without the cream. To make this a paleo dish you could make it with sweet potatoes instead of potatoes.

Primal leek and potato soup

coconut oil
1 leek, chopped
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups of chicken stock or bone broth

  1. In a large stock pot, heat the coconut oil on medium heat.
  2. Add the leeks and saute until soft, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken stock to the pot and bring to the boil. When the stock boils, add the potatoes and bring back to the boil. If needed add boiling water to cover the potatoes.
  4. Then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until potatoes are soft.
  5. Remove from the heat and blend until smooth with a hand mixer or blender.
  6. Divide among bowls and serve warm.

Serves 2.

Paleo carrot soup

Here’s a simple carrot soup for winter. It’s packed with beta-carotene, which is great for healthy skin and eyes. It’s best to make your stock from scratch so it’s packed with healing nutrients.

coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
4-6 carrots, chopped
4 cups of chicken stock + hot water
½ tsp of parsley or basil

  1. Brown the onion in some coconut oil in a pot.
  2. Boil the kettle for your stock. Add meat stock to the pot.
  3. Add the carrots, garlic and herbs. Add more hot water, if needed, to cover all the ingredients.
  4. Gently simmer until the carrots are soft, about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and blitz well with a hand blender or food processor. Add more stock until you have the consistency you want.
  6. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Serves 2-3.

Best recipe: Minestrone

minestrone

We both thought that this recipe was delicious and that we’d cook it again. We used kale which came straight from our garden. Some minestrone recipes contain potato and pasta, but this one contains neither. It’s a winter version so it contains vegetables you’d harvest from your garden at this time of year. It’s quite a chunky dense soup, so you may like to add more stock or water at the end to give you the right consistency. I liked it chunky and dense.

Winter minestrone soup recipe
Adapted from River Cafe’s winter minestrone soup recipe. 

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
2 storks of celery, coarsely chopped
1/2 head of garlic cloves, peeled
250g kale, chard or cavolo nero, coarsey chopped
a handful of parsely, finely chopped
400g can peeled cherry tomatoes, drained of most of their juices
425g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
500ml homemade chicken or vegetable stock
sprig of thyme or sage, chopped
freshly grated Parmesan
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and slowly fry the carrots, onion and celery until soft and dark. This will take approximately 20 minutes.
  2. Then add the garlic and the parsley. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for a further 10 minutes or until reduced. 
  3. Add half of the kale leaves (or chard or cavolo nero), beans and the boiling stock. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining kale leaves (or chard or cavolo nero) and blanch briefly so they remain green and crisp.
  5. Stir in the thyme or sage and serve hot with Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 2.

Cooked for the 100 recipes to cook in your lifetime challenge. 

Best recipe: French onion soup

french onion soup

I got a little worried at the first reading of the Onion soup Les Halles recipe, as I don’t own either ovenproof soup crocks, nor a propane torch. The recipe I’ve chosen comes Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook. I’ve never tried authentic French onion soup in a restaurant, mainly because I love to have snails or frog’s legs as a starter, so I’m not sure how to judge a good onion soup.

My first challenge was researching to find out what a bouquet garni is made up of.  For this dish, I decided to use celery, basil leaf and thyme. My second challenge was converting the recipe to metric and halving the amount. I used the very handy The Cookbook People’s Kitchen Conversion Cheat Sheet.

My eyes started to get teary cutting the first onion, so I precariously tried to chop it at arms length. I was worried I’d cut myself because I could hardly see through the tears. Fortunately, I washed the board and knife, wiped away my tears on my t-shirt sleeve, and then other next three onions were tearless. I have heard the rumour that a blunt knife makes cutting onions harder.

There is some debate about how long it takes to caramalise the onions* – most recipes have 30 minutes, and some suggest at least an hour. Felicity Cloak’s recipe suggests “This will probably take between 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your nerve.”

Flour is often added to thicken the soup, but I didn’t add it. Emmenthal works as well as Gruyere on the toast. Some people prefer to serve the cheesy toast on the side. Apparently the soup improves the day after cooking, but I didn’t notice any difference.

French onion soup is ideal as a winter dish. You could easily make a vegetarian version by changing the stock, and I’m sure this dish has many restorative powers.

French onion soup recipe

Adapted from Onion soup Les Halles recipe from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook.

For the broth:

100g butter
4 brown onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsps port wine
2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
4 cups of homemade chicken stock or beef stock (or vegetable)
100 g bacon, cut into cubes
bouquet garni

For the croutons and cheese:

8 baguette croutons
3/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese 

 For the broth: 

  1. In a large pot, heat the butter over medium heat until it has melted and begins to brown. Add the onions and cook over medium heat. Keep an eye on the onions so they don’t burn and stir occasionally, until they are soft and browned (for at least 30 minutes)*.
  2. Increase the heat to medium high and add the port wine and the vinegar. Don’t forget to stir in all that brown goodness from the bottom of the pot into the liquid. Add the chicken, beef or vegetable stock.
  3. Add the bacon and the bouquet garni and bring to a boil.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove the bouquet garni before serving.

For the croutons and cheese:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Place croutons on a baking tray.
  2. Toast croutons on one side in the an oven for about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the croutons from the oven and turn them over, and sprinkle on the grated cheese.
  4. Return the croutons to the oven, and toast until the cheese has melted.

Add the croutons to the soup and serve immediately.

Serves 4 people.

Cooked for the 100 recipes to cook in your lifetime challenge. 

Thai chicken soup

thai-chicken-soup

We used up some left over chicken from Christmas and frozen stock to make this delicious lunch. The lemon grass, lime, coriander and ginger give the soup an Asian flavour.

leftover chicken, shredded
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
1 celery stick, chopped finely
1 bunch of coriander, chopped or pinch of dried herbs (optional)
2 fresh lemon grass stalks, white parts crushed
2 kaffir lime leaves, or juice of a lime
1 tbsp chopped ginger
2 cups of chicken stock

  1. Brown the onion, garlic and celery for several minutes in a big pot.
  2. Add the stock and additional hot water. Bring to the boil, and skim if required.
  3. Turn down the heat and add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, and simmer for half an hour.
  4. Remove the lime leaves and lemon grass before serving.

Serves 2-4 people.

 

 

Zuppa di verdura della evi – Eve’s Vegetable Soup (Switzerland)

swiss_plate

Cooked for the Swiss entry in The World Cup and Plate challenge. The recipe has been adapted from the Swiss Winter in the Alps: Food by the Fireside cookbook by Manuela Darling-Gansser. A filling warm meal perfect for winter.

15g butter, unsalted
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
2 lamb or veal shanks
1 onion, sliced
1 turnip, diced
4 carrots, sliced
bunch of silverbeet, sliced
2 litres of water
parsley, chopped

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a saucepan, and brown the meat on all sides. Remove them to a plate, and brown the onion.
  2. Add the turnips and carrots and cook until they start  to change colour.
  3. Add the silverbeet and water and let the soup simmer for about an hour.
  4. Remove the bones. Scrap out any marrow and return it to the pot. Break up any large pieces of meat with a wooden spoon.
  5. Stir the parsley through the soup and season to taste.

Serves 2.

Carrot soup

carrot_sweetpotato_soup

Any easy carrot soup. Here’s my current favourite lunch time meal. Adding the rice milk or another type of milk at the end adds some depth and makes it ‘creamier.’

1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced (optional)
4 carrots, chopped
4 cups of vegetable stock + hot water
1 tsp of parsley, ground or finely chopped
½ cup of rice milk

  1. Brown the onion in some oil in a pot.
  2. Boil the kettle for your stock. Make up stock and add to the pot.
  3. Add the carrots, garlic and ginger. Add more hot water to cover all the ingredients.
  4. Gently simmer until the carrots are soft, about 30 minutes.
  5. Add the rice milk and remove from the heat.
  6. Blitz well with a hand blender or food processor. Add more stock until you have the consistency you want.
  7. Season with sea salt.

Serves 2-3.

Carrot and sweet potato soup

Another simple soup for warming up in winter. I’ve made many pumpkin soups in my time, but I enjoyed this one so much that it will become another favourite in rotation. Both carrots and sweet potato are packed with beta-carotene, which is great for healthy skin and eyes. You could replace the rosemary with parsley. Give this orange soup a go.

1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 sweet potato, chunks
2 carrots, chopped
4 cups of vegetable stock + hot water
½ tsp of rosemary, ground

  1. Brown the onion in some oil in a pot.
  2. Boil the kettle for your stock. Make up stock and add to the pot.
  3. Add the carrots, sweet potato, garlic and rosemary. Add more hot water to cover all the ingredients.
  4. Gently simmer until the carrots and sweet potato are soft, about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and blitz well with a hand blender or food processor. Add more stock until you have the consistency you want.
  6. Season with sea salt.

Serves 2-3.

Pumpkin and apple soup

Before the drought, my aunt and uncle used to have a lush native rainforest in their backyard. Unfortunately with the water restrictions it has since been cut back and only the hardy plants remain. Over the autumn, they  found two different pumpkin vines growing from their compost heap. They harvested over  30 pumpkins and my aunt made soup, bread, and curry. We gratefully received one golden nugget and one jap.

I try to keep my soup recipe simple and let the pumpkin shine. Having said that, some pumpkins taste much better than others, so try a different kind if you think you don’t like them. If it’s a special occasion and you have the time, you could roast the pumpkin and apples first (and then follow the rest of the recipe cutting down on the simmering time). The apple and nutmeg give this comforting pumpkin soup a flavour lift.

It’s also worth using a decent stock as there are so few ingredients in this recipe. If you boil the kettle, you can top up with more hot water as you go and the soup won’t lose heat.

1 red onion, chopped
2 apples, peeled and chopped
½ pumpkin, peeled and chopped
2 cups of vegetable stock + hot water
½ tsp of nutmeg

  1. Brown the red onion in some oil in a pot.
  2. Boil the kettle for your stock. Make up stock and add to the pot.
  3. Add the pumpkin, apples and nutmeg. Add more hot water to cover all the ingredients.
  4. Gently simmer until the pumpkin and apples are soft, about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and blitz well with a hand blender or food processor. Add more stock until you have the consistency you want.
  6. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Serves 4.