Réchauffez-vous avec la soupe du jour!
It’s been a very cold and wintry week. As is typical of Melbourne, the weather has now done an about-turn and it’s been a lovely sunny day, but earlier in the week, when the rain was pouring and I was dreading going outside, I was craving a nice bowl of warming soup. Soup is probably the ultimate winter comfort food – with the possible exception of lasagna. It’s also the perfect thing to make on a winter’s afternoon: simply put all the elements into one pot and let it bubble away leisurely while you curl up with a blanket on the couch. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it?
I sort of invented this recipe on the fly last winter. My friends were coming over for a movie night and we were all in need of some post-exam comfort food. Without any real plan in mind, I combined some of my favourite vegetables, and at the last minute, my Mum suggested adding some basil as a garnish. Lo and behold, the Winter Vegetable Soup with Basil was born. My friends loved it (or so they tell me!) and it’s now one of my go-to cold weather recipes.
This is, of course, a vegetarian recipe. However, if you don’t need to make it vegetarian, I would recommend swapping the vegetable stock for some chicken stock; it lends a much richer flavour to the soup. Serve it topped with a generous grating of parmesan, a few basil leaves, and some nice gluten-free bread (a good crunchy one, if you can find it).
As usual, let me know in the comments below if you make this soup. In the meantime, keep warm and enjoy this intermittent sunshine!
Winter Vegetable Soup
1 carrot, diced
1 bulb fennel, trimmed and diced
1 large potato, diced
2 cups pumpkin, diced
1 swede, diced
1 tbsp mixed herbs
1tsp smoky paprika
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup hot water (from the kettle)
1/2 cup sherry or white wine
12 basil leaves, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil, for frying
parmesan, for garnish
- Heat the stock in a large pot until boiling, then reduce to a simmer.
- While the stock is heating, fry the carrot and swede in a large pot over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften (about 15 minutes). Add the fennel, and allow to cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin, herbs, paprika, salt and pepper, and leave to sweat until the pumpkin starts to soften.
- Add the simmering stock and bring the vegetable mix to the boil. Add potatoes, hot water and wine and leave to simmer (partially covered with the pot lid) for 45 minutes.
- Serve, garnished with chopped basil and parmesan.
Keeping time: keeps for 3 days in the fridge.