“Soup is cuisine’s kindest course. It breathes reassurance; it steams consolation; after a weary day it promotes sociability, as the five o’clock cup of tea or the cocktail hour.”
~ Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’ (1949)
It’s been raining all weekend, and the weather has turned cool. What better comfort food than a warm bowl of soup? This one’s a household favourite – quick to make, hearty and satisfying – and it can easily be made as a vegan, gluten and/or dairy free, vegetarian or bacon-y delight. Just adjust the ingredients according to my suggestions and your preferences.
Ingredients to serve four:
1 x tablespoon olive oil or ghee, 1 x large diced carrot, 1 x large stick of celery diced finely, 1 x onion diced, 2 x fat cloves of garlic crushed, 1/3 cup diced capsicum (bell pepper), kernels from 2 cobs of corn (or used frozen or canned equivalent), 1 x cup diced potato or sweet potato, 2 x tablespoons fresh parsley, 1 x spring onion sliced thinly, 2 x tablespoons plain wheat flour (or cornflour for gluten-free), 2 x stock cubes and 2 x cups of water or 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, 2 x cups of milk (you could also use soy, rice, or almond milk), salt and pepper to season, 1 x tablespoon of sherry (optional), 2 x rashers of bacon (optional), 1 x tablespoon grated parmesan cheese plus more for garnish (optional).
Dice all vegetables, parsley and bacon, if using. Remove kernels from corn cobs using a sharp knife. (Don’t know how? Click here.)
Toss the ghee or oil in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Then dump in all of the vegetables (and bacon if you are using) and saute for a few minutes until warm and fragrant. Stir often to prevent sticking.
Add your 2 cups of stock (or water and stock cubes) and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for ten minutes or until vegetables are soft.
Blend the flour with half a cup of milk. I find it easy to place both ingredients in a jar with a lid and give it a vigorous shake to combine. Pour the milk and flour mixture into the saucepan and stir, then gradually add in the rest of the milk and heat until the soup thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste, and the parmesan cheese and sherry if using.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with some sliced spring onion, black pepper and additional parmesan shavings if preferred.
*As a fancy variation I have also served this at dinner parties with the addition of a cupful of fresh prawn (shrimp) or lobster pieces thrown in and cooked through right at the end. If I use prawns I swap the sherry for white wine, or for the truly adventurous use Pernod instead of sherry and dill in place of the parsley – it’s heavenly with seafood!
Serve on its own, or with some fresh crusty bread or toast. The soup will keep in the refrigerator for four days, and also freezes well.