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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

An ode to the many joys and gloriounesses of soup

In between working, studying and doing all the rest of the stuff that you have to do to keep going - brushing your teeth, cleaning the windows, paying the bills - cooking has been a little sidelined of late.

But we've still got to eat, right? And what's the one thing you can make that's quick and easy, tastes good and has all the lovely nutrients you need?


Not these bad boys, but I've been living on those too! Who doesn't love a vegan croissant?

No, much as I would love croissants to have all the nutrition I need in them, it's actually soup that I've been cooking a lot. Fry some onions, add some veggies, stick in some stock and go away and read a book for a bit. When you've got to the end of the chapter, your dinner's all there for you - and there's not ever so much washing up. Brilliant!

My new go-to soup is my old go-to dish put through a blender: a mixture of collards (or the closest you can get over here, which is spring greens), onions, peppers and carrots with a little stock, blackstrap molasses and chipotle in adobo. Simmer, blend, feel faintly surprised something really tasty can be so little work.


And then there's lentil soup. Isn't lentil soup great? If lentil soup hadn't existed, someone would have had to have to invent it (and then heartily congratulate themselves for their clever work.)

I've made lentils soups since I was an omnivore (yeah, that long ago) and I've stuck with them since then. Normally, though, it's red lentils I use: in rich coconut curry soups, in sharp Thai ones or in herby dumpling-laden beasts.

The most recent version to bother my epiglottis is a thick lentil and plantain soup. It was from a cookbook my parents gave me at Christmas called Wahaca: Mexican Food at Home (it's not vegan or vegetarian - there's a fair bit of meat, fish and all the rest in there. "Just use tofu," was my parents' advice. Umm, yeah, I guess...)

My only mistake with this soup was following the recipe to the letter! I probably should have twigged that I was about to make a swimming pool sized batch of soup when the recipe called for 500g of puy lentils.

My brain must have taken a holiday and I plugged on regardless. I ended up with approximately one bath tub full of soup. Luckily, I like lentils, I like plantains, and I liked all the rest of this soup, including the obligatory Mexican wonderfulness of chipotle in adobo.

And threes up for soup is ribollita. I think it's originally an Italian soup, and its name means reboiled. There's another reason to like it right there - its name tells you that it's going to get better if you leave it for a bit. What's not to love?

I was reminded to make it this week when I found a fair bit of cavolo nero and parsley that had seen better days and nothing but canned beans in the cupboard. I couldn't think of anything better to make then that big, hearty, tomato-ey soup.

There's a lovely recipe on the Demuths website for ribollita here. It's sort of like the uhr soup - the most soupy of all soups, made from the most typically soup ingredients - carrots, garlic, beans, tinned tomatoes, and herbs.

And like most soups, it's more than the sum of its parts. Get some bread, get that book, and enjoy.


12 comments:

  1. I entirely agree- soup is utterly glorious! I especially like the sound of your own recipe.
    Have you tried Wahaca, the restaurant, yet? I've heard they have some tasty vegan options but haven't got around to going.

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  2. I've been making tons of soup lately too, although my batches aren't quite as large as bath tub size. :-) I would love a vegan croissant, haven't found any near me. :-(

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  3. Yes soup is a life saver and a time saver. Just made a pretty delicious lentil soup tonight too! But wow, that molasses with blended collards and chipotle soup sounds incredible! Are the collards cooked? maybe I should go clink on yr link to find out, huh?

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  4. Soup is the best thing — I make a huge pot and eat it every night with variations. I just finished off a lentil with carrots, cauliflower and potatoes by blending it with a few cashews, lots of Indian spices, and hot pepper flakes. It may have been similar to your first soup. Yay, soup!

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  5. All kinds of wonderful! I thought I had worked off my soup desires, but the weather keeps pushing me back towards them! I might have to make another batch soon...

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  6. Oh, I love soups any time of year! All of yours look good, but I love tomato-based broths, so the last one's my fave. I chuckled at your oversized batch of lentil soup. I've made many a batch that could feed much more than just us.

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  7. mmm, some great soup ideas there. I've been making lots too, about to move house so lots of lentil soups and stews to save money!

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  8. OH MY G. VEGAN CROISSANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  9. Hot soup is pretty much the ONLY thing I like about winter <3 Your photos are lovely and hunger-inducing.

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  10. Yes please to a big bowl of soup - with bread and some time to read a book sounds like heaven! And I am always happy to have soup leftovers - it always improves with time. I have ribollita but mine had stale bread in it - just in case you don't get to eat all the bread fresh with the soup :-)

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  11. What pretty croissants! Bread often makes the soup experience for me. I love the soft and chewy textures as a break from slurping. When it's frigid cold outside, that liquid warmth really does help!

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  12. Forget the soup, those croissants look amazing. Did you make them or buy?

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