Soups are incredibly easy, flexible and cheap! Almost every savoury ingredient shared on the Shrewsbury Food Hub food tables can be turned into a tasty, nutritious and above all easy starter, lunch or supper, and sometimes a meal in itself. Quantities will make approximately the equivalent of a can and a half – lunch for two with bread!
Potato Soup with Parsley
Chop and gently fry half an onion in a little oil until soft
Peel and slice thinly or dice 400g of potatoes and add to the pan (with the chopped parsley stalks – see below)
Add 500ml of stock. Bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes until the potatoes are very soft.
Add the leaves from a bunch of parsley (reserving a few for garnish), or parsley oil* and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season to taste.
Blend until smooth with an optional (but strongly recommended) 75ml of cream. Remember that vegan cream alternatives are now available.
Garnish with the remaining leaves, a drizzle of cream, or, as in the photo vegetable crisps. Also, this soup goes really well with toasted cheese
*Parsley oil – half a bunch of parsley leaves blended with a tablespoon of olive oil and some salt – will keep the colour better, but is not essential
Pappa al Pomodoro (Italian Bread Soup)
Basil is important here, but it can be dried (a heaped teaspoon) if you don’t have any fresh.
Chop and gently fry half an onion and 2 crushed cloves of garlic in a little oil until soft
Either: (1) Add the tomatoes from a 400g can, reserving the liquid; or (2) Peel and chop three salad tomatoes or ten cherry tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of tomato puree. Peeling is a pain, but you will notice the skins if you leave them on and some people can’t handle them. Peel by pricking and (a) putting in boiling water or (b) holding on a fork safely over a naked flame, until the skins start to roll back
Chop all the stalks and half the leaves from a quarter bunch of basil and add to the pan with two (optional) teaspoons of sugar. Cook gently for 10 minutes until the tomatoes are breaking down.
Add either: (1) the reserved liquid from the tomato can, made up to 400ml with water; or (2) 500ml of stock made with ½ a stock cube. Bring to the boil and cook for five minutes.
Add 200g of chopped crusty bread and cook for 10 minutes until the bread breaks down and thickens the soup. The bread can be as stale as you like. Season at the end of cooking as breads contain different amounts of salt.
Just before serving, chop and add the remaining basil leaves, reserving a couple for garnish.
Ribollita (Italian Bean Soup)
Ribollita means re-boiled, so make Italian tomato soup as per Pappa al Pomodoro (but swap a bayleaf for the basil), and when you get to the stage where the recipe says you would add the bread, add instead: a medium carrot (60g), diced 50g of chopped cabbage (cavolo nero is traditional) 150g of canned white beans with their liquid. (Cannelinni is traditional – but the soup in the photo was made with leftover baked beans which are haricot beans, complete with tomato sauce.)
Bring back to the boil (see – re-boiled) and cook for another 15 minutes. Retrieve the bayleaf, season to taste and serve with garlic bread, or some good sourdough from a food share table. A proper meal soup!
Broccoli and Stilton
Another very easy soup. Any sharp cheese will do instead of stilton, such as gorgonzola or goat’s cheese
Chop and gently fry half an onion, in a little oil until soft
Add a chopped small potato, and if you have them a couple of inches of celery stalk and half a medium leek.
Chop the stems of 150g of broccoli (yellowing is fine) and add them with 500ml of stock (half a stock cube). Bring to the boil and cook for 15 mins.
Add the broccoli florets and cook for another 5 minutes.
Season, add most of 70g of crumbled Stilton(reserving a little for garnish), and stir until melting.
Blitz until smooth and serve, garnished with the remaining cheese (and a knob of butter if your diet allows).
Carrot and Coriander – A golden delight!
Simple, warming, quick, a true delight.
Chop and fry half a small onion (50g, 2oz) in 1 tbsp oil until soft
Dice and add 150g (6oz)of carrots – they don’t have to be in perfect condition and they don’t need to be peeled, just washed.
Add a teaspoon of ground coriander and a teaspoon of tomato puree and fry for another minute
Strip the leaves from a quarter bunch of fresh coriander, chop the stalks and add to the pan (if you have no fresh coriander, use two teaspoons of ground, but fresh gives it a real lift).
Add 500ml (just less than a pint) of stock made with half a vegetable or chicken stock cube. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the soup from heat and add almost all the chopped coriander leaves.
Once it has cooled enough to be safe, blend the soup until it is smooth.
Reheat, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve garnished with a few remaining leaves. (and a tiny drizzle of cream as in the photo, as an optional touch of luxury).
Potato and Lentil – a Scottish* Favourite (*and everywhere else, too)
Chop and gently fry half an onion in a little oil until soft Butter is better if your diet allows it, and omnivores can add a half rasher of bacon chopped very finely
Chop and add a thumb sized (50g, 2oz) piece of each of celery, swede and 100g (4oz) potato. Grate 50g (2oz) carrot and add.
Rinse and add 50g (2oz) red lentils
Add 500mls (just less than a pint) of stock made with half a vegetable (or ham) stock cube.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
Season and serve. (Garnish with fresh green herbs if you have some.). That’s it, folks! Easy.