There is so much comfort in sitting down to a lovely bowl of vegetable soup, especially on a cold day.
It might seem kind of basic to be writing about how to make vegetable soup but if you haven’t had a go at it these tips might help. I like to make up big batches of soup and keep them in the freezer in small containers so l can use them as needed. The soup freezes well and if l don’t have time to let the soup defrost overnight l place the frozen tub in a small amount of hot water so it loosens from the container, then put it in a saucepan with a small amount of water. This method works very well as l do not use a microwave oven so need to find other ways of managing.
The whole base of the soup is a good stock. I have a recipe on my website for making a stock from a chicken base but you can use beef or lamb shanks. My mother used to put the lamb shank into the soup and let it all cook for several days and if you can find some grass fed lamb shanks this would be very nice. I don’t eat red meat now due to my lack of a gall bladder but my Dad was a sheep farmer and we had some lovely lamb meals when we were growing up. Although l don’t eat the red meat l could still put the beef or lamb bones into my stock mix but at this stage l am in the habit of using free range chicken as we often have a roast chicken for dinner and it is economical to then use the bones, skin and leftover meat in the stock.
The pictures above show the cooked stock, draining out the bones and meat and finally the delicious stock which is the base of the soup. At this stage you can place small amounts of the stock in containers and freeze to use in casseroles or bolognese as examples depending on the quantity of soup you wish to make.
Decide which vegetables you would like in your soup. I chose sweet potato, celery, pumpkin, carrot and cauliflower this time. You can add anything that you like such as cabbage and some onion if you can tolerate it. My mother used to add split peas and soup mix but l have found these can create digestive issues so avoid them now. Make sure your vegetables are washed well then cut into small pieces. Vegetables such as the carrots and celery will be there in the diced form in the final soup, but the softer vegetables such as sweet potato and carrot will dissolve and thicken the soup. Place all of your chopped vegetables in the pot with the broth and let simmer all day. Get a potato masher and mash some of the softer vegetables such as the pumpkin so they break up and thicken the soup. Serve in a bowl or mug and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. You can add a clove of crushed garlic or some sliced spring onion tops at serving as a garnish and extra flavour. Let the soup left over cool and place into the fridge or freezer for later use. Another handy idea is to take the soup hot to work in a thermos so you can enjoy a lovely lunch or have it in a mug for morning tea.
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