Todays post brings you two recipes in one!
This stunning bowl of thick vegetable soup kind of invented itself the other day when I was making some vegetable stock. I was going to say that one was the 'by-product' of the other, but that would be denigrating them both, as they are equally delicious as starters or meals in their own right.
So, having planned a blog post featuring clear, vegetable stock, the resulting 'happy accident' wins top spot and feature photo for its sheer beauty, flavour and inspiration!
The soups work out to 4 propoints (or approx.670 kcal) for THE WHOLE 2 PANS.
(0pp per bowl).
I have worked out approximate calorie content according to the exact vegetables and quantity I made, but you will have to calculate accordingly if you choose to use alternative vegetables. It's quite hard for me to calculate the calories for an individual bowl of soup, as the clear broth will obviously have less than the thick soup, so I would charge a small amount for the clear soup, then divide the total calories left by the number of thick bowls of soup you finally produce).
This recipe will make a clear but tasty, thin broth with a beautiful flavour not dissimilar to traditional clear chicken soup. This is a great base for other recipes, but also works well as a dish its own right. I will give you some serving suggestions later on.
The thicker, featured soup has a mild curry flavour and, when presented as shown in the photo, has a deep, full flavour and garnishes that will make your tastebuds sing and dance! I'm feeling that it has both Indian and Morroccan influences. All I can say is that these unusual combinations really work....and I hope that you love it as much as I do.
You will need:
A large stockpot, plus a medium saucepan.
4 red onions
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 sticks celery
8 medium carrots
8-10 teaspoons reduced salt vegetable bouillon powder
2-3 teaspoons medium curry powder
For serving the thin broth;
very finely sliced carrot
vermicelli (2pp/72kcal per 20g 'nest')
For serving the thick soup;
reduced fat creme fraiche
fresh pomegranate seeds
Fill the stockpot about 3/4 with water and add all the vegetables, roughly sliced and chopped along with 4-5 teaspoons stock, white and black pepper to taste, and bring to the boil.
Put a lid on and allow to simmer for an hour or so, even longer if you have time. Switch off and allow to cool slightly (just so that you are not handling boiling hot stock).
Strain all of the clear liquid into a medium saucepan, season to taste with a little more white pepper and stock powder if necessary. This is a clear stock, but should not have an insipid flavour.
It is lovely served simply, like this.
I allow 20g (one little 'nest') of vermicelli per person (2pp/72kcal). I cook a few fresh, thinly sliced carrots with the pasta which look beautiful floating about gently in the clear stock.
Another favourite in my house, is tofu and pasta cooked 'in brodo',
(Italian for broth),
whereby you actually boil the pasta with the cubed tofu in the broth so that it absorbs the flavours. Obviously, you serve the pasta and tofu in the cooking liquid rather than draining it off.
You could also freeze the stock in portions, or even ice-cube trays, to add to recipes such as gravy or sauces where you would normally add a stock cube.
Now, for the thick soup!
Add a little fresh water to the vegetables remaining in the pan and 'blitz' with a hand held blender until thick and smooth. If it's too thick, add a little more water until it's the consistency you like. Season with some vegetable bouillon and white and black pepper to taste. You could serve it like this, as a thick, tasty, robust vegetable soup.
If you like curry, you will love this version! Just add 2-3 teaspoons of curry powder to the soup. I use medium which gives it a good but manageable kick. If you want it milder, or stronger, use which ever you prefer. Play around with the flavours until you are happy. You might want to add some low-salt soy sauce, some chilli flakes, or even some fresh chilli.
Fanfare for the beautiful bit!
When you serve this soup, make sure it is thick enough so that the garnish can 'sit' on the surface. It actually reminds me of a dhal without the lentils, so I like it to be pretty thick in consistency.
Blend 1 teaspoon reduced fat creme fraiche with a little water so that it is the consistency of single cream. Drizzle it in a rough spiral on the soup. If it 'blobs' and 'drips' don't worry, this just adds to its rustic charm. Then take a skewer or sharp knife, and 'feather' the creme fraiche. Do this by drawing lines along the surface of the soup from the centre of the bowl to the outside of the bowl about 5 times, then back the other way from the outside of the bowl back to the centre of the bowl, in-between the first strokes you have made. The easiest way to describe it, is a spiders web design.
Roughly scatter some fresh coriander leaves, then sprinkle some fresh pomegranate seeds in the centre. This may sound like a strange addition, but think of serving mango chutney with curry -spicy with sweet just works! The fresh pomegranate 'croutons' seem to 'pop' on your tongue, releasing a sweet but earthy juice that compliments the thick, hot curry soup and the cooling, gentle creme fraiche.
It's a match made in heaven!
(Well, my kitchen, actually).
HANDY TIP: If you have the centres of courgette left over from julienning strips for courgette salad or 'courgetti-spaghetti',(see post;'BLOGGYNAISE UPDATE!:Courgetti-Spaghetti') you could put this in the soup, to save any wastage.