Soup ideas from the allotment

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Making soup is a regular ritual for me. Whenever we have a chicken I ensure that it gets popped in the big pan and boiled up to make stock which is then portioned up and frozen, ready to be used for my next mega batch of soup. It's always preferable to use whatever is in season and needs using up before it spoils.
Over the summer it's usually courgette which needs using up but this year we easily kept pace and didn't have a glut at all that I can remember.
I ditched the pumpkins of yesteryears which are difficult to cut, peel and use all in one go and instead I grew two types of butternut squash and uchiki kuri (red kuri). These are brilliant for using in soup from the day they ripen on the plant all the way through winter as they will happily store for months. The flavour of these squashes is far superior to pumpkin and they are much easier to handle although I would mention that holding the peeled flesh dries out my skin and I look particularly crusty of hand the following day.
Apologies for ugly bucket of squashes but I don't seem to have taken any better ones. 
As well as my failsafe spiced squash soup which I regularly make, there have been some decent others I've made this year. Toward the end of summer the two aubergine plants in the greenhouse gave me more fruit than I expected. It's fantastic grilled but if you have 3 or 4 small ones to use up then I made a lovely smoky aubergine soup which went down a storm
  • One large or several small chopped onions - sweat in generous blob of butter until soft
  • Add a teaspoon each of curry powder and (smoked) paprika , stir and let the aroma develop for a minute or so
  • Dice into approx 1cm cubes 3 or 4 small aubergine and about half a small butternut squash and pop these into the pan, stir
  • Add in a can of chopped tomatoes and top it up with stock of choice, I use my homemade chicken for extra flavour. Season with salt and pepper, stir, bring to the boil then simmer for around 25 minutes
  • Ensure it's all soft, take off the heat and blend when a little cooler. 
We do have a good lot of leek still to use and I have given some away for a leek and potato soup but I'm tempted to make some myself.

The celeriac we grew are very small this year. They are such a slow growing vegetable that if the conditions aren't right, or they have a late start you will never end up with a good crop. The little veg scrub up alright so I teamed them with some ugly parsnips to make a creamy white soup. Again, start with onions. This time add a few cloves of garlic once the onions are soft. Add sliced or cubed veg and top up with stock but if in doubt add too much liquid as the celeriac and parsnip thicken things alarmingly. Blend!
I did want a good broccoli soup recipe and the one I found from a well known chef was essentially just broccoli, stock and a drop of cream which I thought was a woeful effort. I at least added onions but mine was uninspiring.

Take care,

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