I love early winter’s colder mornings and nights – as long as I’m inside. Many of the streets where we live are lined with maples and other deciduous trees and about half of them are still in full display. I love the way the evenings, which start around 5pm now, form foggy parentheses around sparkling sky-blue and flame-red days.
For me, it’s the perfect time for returning to the warmth of the kitchen. I’ve started foraging through recipes online and in my cookbooks on the living room shelf.
Would you like a couple of our family’s favourite vegetable soup recipes? Both are very simple to make (which is great because I’m usually short on time) and very forgiving of variations. They always turn out fine and leftovers keep and freeze really well. They are so, so good the second day!
Sweet Potato and Butternut Pumpkin Soup
1 or 2 roughly chopped sweet potatoes
About half a chopped up butternut pumpkin (some people keep the skin on, I’m yet to try that)
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 dried bay leaves
2 or three cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 teaspoon of crushed ginger
Enough vegetable stock or water to cover your vegetables in the pot, maybe 4 or 5 cups (I use liquid stock from the supermarket)
salt and pepper
Method: Place the chopped vegetables, bay leaves, ginger and garlic cloves into a large, deep oven pan. You want it big enough so there’s one layer of vegetables. Lightly drizzle the whole lot with olive oil, give it a toss and place it into a hot (200 degrees Celsius) oven for about 20 mins or until the vegetables are soft and slightly caramelised underneath where they touch the pan.
Remove pan from the oven, squeeze out the garlic cloves from their skins. Bin the garlic skins and the bay leaves. Transfer your lovely veges into a large pot on the stove (I use a big stockpot). Add the stock, salt, and pepper, and bring to boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes then turn off the heat and let it cool a bit. Blend until smooth (I use a stick blender).
Serve with a spoon of sour cream and some good bread.
Vegetable soup recipe
This is so easy and so good, and also freezable.
Olive oil (about 3 teaspoons)
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed, or a teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger, or ginger from a jar
1 or 2 tablespoons tomato or sun-dried tomato paste or sauce
4 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon chilli powder or hot paprika powder (optional)
2 cups red split lentils
1 400 gram tin of tomatoes
1 400 gram tin of beans (any type)
1 litre water or vegetable stock
pepper, salt, parsley and/or fresh coriander, thyme, oregano, rosemary to taste.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add carrot, onion and celery, tomato paste or sauce and the tougher herbs eg. rosemary plus the spices and cook for a few minutes until vegetables are soft. Add garlic, ginger, lentils and stir to combine. Add tomatoes, beans, water or stock and bring to a boil.
As soon as it starts to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until you can tell the lentils are soft. Season with pepper and stir through your coriander or parsley.
Serve with nice bread and a dollop of yoghurt or sour cream and a bit of chilli sauce if that’s your thing.
This is so good!
Let me know your favourite recipe for the cooler months in the comments below.