Don’t you just love a good soup? I eat soup every day and love experimenting with local produce and great flavours. I usually use a pressure cooker to make soups, but I got to thinking recently, what if you don’t have one?
Using a pressure cooker makes a 15-minute soup possible. Of course you could boil the vegetables and add seasoning, but it is so much easier to pop everything in the pot at once. A baked soup admittedly, it takes longer, but hands on time is the same as using the pressure cooker.
To make great soup you really need a food processor or blender or a mouli if you can find one. . Whilst you can eat chunky soup, a smooth mix goes down better with most people.
7 Key Tips for a Great Soup
- Always add onion and garlic.
- Avoid adding potato, it can give the soup and unpleasant texture when blended.
- There’s no need to add stock, spices and herbs will bring all the flavour you need.
- If you are using a vegetable that’s difficult to peel, such as Jerusalem artichokes or squash, leave the skin on and peel afterwards.
- Cut pieces evenly so they cook at the same rate.
- Be generous with your herbs and spices
- Use up vegetables that are a little past their best. A great way to avoid waste.
You can vary the vegetables and herbs used depending on the season. Be generous with the herbs. You’ll need a large dish where the vegetables can be laid out in one layer if possible and foil to cover.
Serves 4 – 6. Preparation time 15 minutes. Cooking time 45 minutes
- 750 gr of mixed vegetables: eg squash, sweet potato, peppers, carrots, parsnips
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed and peel removed
- I large or two medium size red or white onions
- Fresh herbs: 2 bay leaves, a few sprigs of rosemary, oregano, sage
- 1-2 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil.
- Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC /Gas 6/400°F
- Wash the vegetables and peel the root vegetables. Chop into equal sizes
- Chop the onions.
- Place all the vegetables in the dish with the herbs and 1 tablespoon of oil. Mix so that each piece is covered with oil. Add the second tablespoon of oil if necessary.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for approx 45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft
- Remove the bay leaves if using as they will not breakdown when processing the soup.
- Add to liquidiser or food processor add 500 ml water and process until you have a smooth puree. You may well need more water.
- Return to the pan and check the seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Sweet Potato, Pepper and Tamarind Soup
This is one of my favourite soups and one I make regularly. Seek out the long red peppers although any pepper will do and you’ll need Tamarind Paste. I get mine from Just Ingredients but it is relatively easy to find.
Serves 2 – 3. Preparation time 15 minutes. Cooking time 10 minutes
- 2 large peppers
- 1 sweet potato about 500 gr
- One large red or white onion
- 1 garlic clove crushed and peeled.
- 1/2 fresh chilli or 1/4 dried chilli
- 1 dessertspoon tamarind paste
- Salt and pepper
- Chop all the vegetables into equal size pieces 1 inch/ 2 cm.
- Pop all the ingredients (except salt and pepper) into the pressure cooker and add 500 ml water.
- Cook on high pressure for 10 to 15 minutes. Release the pressure and then taste
- Add salt and pepper or a little more tamarind paste if needed.
- Blend adding more water as required to a consistency you like and serve.
What’s your favourite soup?
— Roseann Thompson (@HoneybourneLine) March 5, 2017