I love making soup – such a great way of using up odds and ends of veg so they don’t go to waste, plus so nutritious compared to a sandwich! However, my results are sometimes mixed when I (as I often do) take the throw-it-all-in-a-pot-and-see-what-happens appproach. This week I had a real jumble of veg to hand (due to the demeted shop last week). Into the pot went: olive oil, an onion, the end of a courgette (from when I made the tomato, courgette and basil pasta sauce), a leek, 2 carrots, nearly a whole pack of celery, half of a large sweet potato (from when I made the casserole), 3 small, bendy parsnips, some dried mixed herbs and a couple of stock cubes. There might have been other things in there too that I am forgetting. Basically I kept rooting through the fridge, finding things that needed to be used, chopping them up and throwing them in. I was a bit suspicious about this particular batch – I couldn’t imagine it tasting particularly nice but since I’d gone over budget there was no way I was going to chuck the food out! Plus I really needed a soup for my lunches as we were nearly out of salad stuff. The end result was gorgeous.
I love little moments of cooking serendipity like that. I doubt I could ever exactly recreate the soup again but I guess that’s the whole point. Thus it has been christened ‘Serendipity soup’. I anticipate there being a wide variety of serendipity soups being produced on my hob this winter as I make the most of a very cheap, nutritious way of having lunches and try not to let anything go in the bin.
I use various methods for making soup depending on the recipe. However, when I’m freestyling I tend to fry up on onion with a squidge of garlic puree and bit of olive oil until the onion turns golden. I give the onion a quick stir now and then while it is frying and use the rest of the time to start chopping, adding veg as I go along. Then I quickly make up some stock (generally using stock cubes or powder) and add enough to that the veg is almost covered, sprinkle on some dried, mixed herbs, pop the lid on and cook until the veg is cooked. Once cooled I give it a blitz with my hand held blender and tuck potions away in the freezer. (Note: you can add salt and pepper. I don’t like pepper so I don’t use it and I tend to find that the stock cubes add enough salt for me. It’s a personal taste thing though!).
We’re just coming up to the time of year when soups and casseroles will be taking the place of salads. As I type the rain is hammering down and it is so dark it might as well be evening. I’ll be having a bowl of serendipity for lunch and hoping for a few more sunny afternoons before I have pack my sleeveless tops away and find my boots!