Tag Archive for Soup

Chicken and Barley Soup

A deliciously soothing and warming soup. It does take a while to prepare, but it keeps well, so make a large pot and freeze portions for later. And of course, there are few things that smell better than a pot of chicken stock bubbling away on the stove, or onions that are gently caramelizing.

Chicken and Barley Soup

Chicken and Barley Soup (serves 4 + leftovers)
Adapted from “Leon – Ingredients & Recipes”

2 chicken legs
2 carrots
2 small onions, peeled
2 sticks of celery
1 leek, washed
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 bay leaves
a few whole peppercorns
a few pieces of mace
a few sprigs of thyme
a few sprigs of flat leaf parsley, with stalks
150 g pearl barley
250 g button mushrooms
salt and pepper
Optional: butter and/or olive oil (use if your chicken did not release enough fat)
Optional: crusty bread to serve the soup with

Chop 1 carrot, 1 onion, the celery and the green part of the leek coarsely. Smash 3 of the garlic cloves. Crush the peppercorns coarsely. Cut the stalks from the parsley, set the leaves aside for later. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms, set the tops aside for later. Throw in a stock pot, together with the bay leaves, mace and thyme. Heat a frying pan and place the chicken legs in it. Fry, turning regularly, until the skin is crisp and brown all around. Reserve the pan and the fat that came out of the chicken skin for later. Place the chicken legs on top of the vegetables in the stock pot, add 1.5 liter water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about an hour.
Meanwhile, dice the second carrot and the second onion. Thinly slice the white part of the leek. Finely mince the 3 garlic cloves that were left. Pour half of the chicken fat into a (sauce)pan (large enough to accommodate the stock later on) and heat. Add the onion and a generous sprinkle of salt, fry until soft and translucent. Then add the carrot, leek and garlic. Sauté on low heat until very soft and golden. This will take about 30 minutes.
Take the chicken from the stock and set aside to cool. Pour the stock through a strainer into the pan with the caramelized vegetables, discard the vegetables from the stock. Add the pearl barley and leave to simmer for another hour.
Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms thinly and chop the parsley leaves finely. Heat the pan you used for the chicken with the reserved fat in it and fry the mushrooms until they are golden. Pick the meat of the chicken bones and chop it into pieces (discard the skin if you prefer). Check if your barley is tender, if not cook for a bit longer, if it is, add the mushrooms, parsley and chicken to the soup. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to adjust it. If the soup is a bit thick (can happen especially with the leftovers) you can add some extra water. Serve hot.

Italian pumpkin soup

A delicious autumn soup. Hearty, warming and bold of flavour. Sometimes pumpkin soup is icky sweet and lacks other flavours, but this soup certainly doesn’t. I’m not a big fan of cooking with wine, because you always only need a glass and have to finish the rest of the bottle in some other way, which often goes wrong around here. And the small bottles of wine generally aren’t that tasty. So usually I just omit the wine in the recipe without any problem, but this is an exception: the soup needs the acid and the complex flavours of the wine. Serve the soup with something cheesy, like cheese straws or cheesy croutons.

Italian pumpkin soup (serves 4)
Slightly adapted from James Martin

1 small pumpkin, peeled, seeds discarded, in large cubes (about 1 kg)
1 onion, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tbsp olive oil
500 ml chicken stock (from a cube is fine
1 glass dry white wine
75 ml cream
Salt, pepper, chilli powder and lemon juice to taste

Preheat the oven to 220C.
Combine the pumpkin, onion, garlic and rosemary in a baking tray. Add the olive oil, mix until everything is coated. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender and nicely roasted. Mix halfway through the cooking time to ensure the bottom of the cubes roasts as well. This also prevents catching (pumpkin is quite sweet, which makes it prone to burning).
Meanwhile bring the stock to the boil. When the vegetables are cooked, put in a blender with the hot liquid and white wine (or use an immersion blender). Blend until smooth, then add the cream and return to the pan. Warm through on low heat, don’t let it boil. Taste, then adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, chilli powder and lemon juice to taste. Serve immediately.

Mixed vegetable soup

As so often, I used a BBC programme as an inspiration for this recipe, this time it was Saturday Kitchen Best Bites. The vegetable soup they made reminded me of the vegetable velouté you can buy in cartons in the French supermarket, absolutely delicious, great to have something reasonably healthy that is ready-made and unfortunately not available in the Netherlands. So I decided to make my own, which is quite a bit more work than opening a carton, but definitely worth it. It is a lovely vibrant, fresh soup tasting of all the lush vegetables that are available in summer. Vegetable patch soup is maybe a good name for this recipe, because you can use up all kinds of vegetables, perfect for finishing the bits and pieces that you sometimes have growing around your vegetable patch. The recipe below shows the vegetables I used, but you could use all kinds of other vegetables as well. I think that for example cauliflower, broccoli, fennel and green beans would also be delicious.

Mixed Vegetable Soup

Mixed vegetable soup (serves 2)
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 small celeriac, in cubes
1 large carrot, in cubes
1/2 courgette, in cubes
500 ml water
2 vegetable stock cubes
a handful fresh peas
a few tbsp mascarpone
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper

Heat the butter in a large pan (I like to use my Dutch oven for this). Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, celeriac, carrot and courgette and sauté until softened, but not coloured (5-8 minutes). Add the water and stock cubes, stir well and leave to simmer until the vegetables are soft. Optionally, fish out the garlic. Add the peas, cook for another 2 minutes, then blend the whole thing with a stick blender. Stir in the mascarpone (don’t let the soup boil after this!), parsley, chives and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Note: to make this recipe suitable for vegans, use olive oil instead of butter and a plant based cream instead of mascarpone.

Dutch food: bean soup

Bean soup is a traditional Dutch full-meal soup, similar to pea soup. Because the original is quite heavy and wintery, and because it would be a bit boring to put a recipe online that is so similar to one that I already have on this website, I decided to jazz it up with some spices and some roasted red paprika’s to make it more summery. The recipe is a cross between goulash soup and a Serbian bean soup that I found in a cookbook. Normally bean soup is made with brown beans, but I’m not completely sure that those are available abroad, or how they are called abroad. Sometimes white beans are used as well, I used the borlotti beans that I had leftover in my cupboard, but I think you could use any bean (or even lentils or chickpeas) you like.

Bean Soup

Bean soup (serves 4-6)
250 g dried beans
olive oil
100 g of smoked bacon, cubes
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tin (70 g) tomato purée
2 tsp sambal badjak
1 L water
2 beef stock cubes
2-3 bay leaves
6 cloves
2 juniper berries
3 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of majoram (or oregano)
1 tsp pimenton de la vera dulce

2 red paprika’s

Soak the beans: place them in a large bowl and cover with water generously. Leave to soak for 24 hours.
Heat a large Dutch oven with a splash of olive oil. Add the bacon and onion, until the bacon releases its fat and the onion is soft and translucent. Add the garlic, fry for another minute. Add the tomato purée and sambal, fry for a few minutes to de-acidify and release the flavours.
Throw away the soaking liquid from the beans and rinse them. Add them to the pan together with the remaining ingredients. Stir well and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and cook for at least 1 hour, but preferably longer. I simmered mine for 3 hours. Stir occasionally, to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
Slice the red paprika’s in strips and grill them in a hot skillet. Add to the soup at the end of cooking time.
Serve immediately, or cool down (keeps for a few days in the fridge or a few months in the freezer).

Note: Beans contain a toxic substance (phytohaemagglutinin), therefore you need to soak them for at least 5 hours, discard the soaking liquid, and boil them for at least 30 minutes at 100C. This means that the toxin is not deactivated when you prepare beans in a slow cooker (which typically only reaches a temperature of 80C). Canned beans can be eaten directly, as they already have been processed this way.

Courgette soup

Last year the courgette plants in our garden did not that well, but that still meant that they produced 2 or 3 courgettes a week. Maybe this year they will not do it that well again, but they also might be doing great. Either case, we will have lots of courgettes during the summer. So when I came about this recipe I thought I should try it: having more recipes for delicious food that use courgette prevents getting bored of them.
Courgette is quite a mild vegetable, so the soup itself is very mild and summery. Because it has some flour in it, and is blended and passed through a sieve it is very smooth and creamy. You can enhance this creaminess by adding some cream or crème fraîche. You can make the soup a bit bolder by adding something interesting, like blue cheese (f.e. gorgonzola) or crisped ham/bacon, or a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil. You could even serve it cold in small glasses as an appetizer.
By variating the kind of herb you use you can completely transform the character of this soup. I used chives and parsley (and would have added some chervil, but I didn’t have it on hand) for a garden style soup, by adding rosemary and sage you make it Italian, adding mint would be perfect when you serve the soup cold, you could even add coriander to give the soup an Asian vibe.

Courgette Soup

Courgette soup (serves 4)
Adapted from Allerhande

4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp flour
800 g courgette, cubed
2 vegetable stock cubes
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp herbs, chopped

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion for about 4 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the flour and fry for another 2 minutes (the flour should not get any colour). Add the courgette and fry for another 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Add 400 ml water and the stock cubes, bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the herbs. Take the pan from the heat and puree with a stick blender. Pour the soup through a sieve into another pan. Use a ladle or wooden spoon to push as much liquid through, but take care not to push through the fibery bits as well, because these are what you want to get rid of. Serve immediately, optionally with add-ins.

Cream of mushroom soup

Making your own cream of mushroom soup is very easy, and much more delicious than the stuff from a can. There are two important things to keep the soup as white as possible, instead of dull and brownish. First, use the freshest mushrooms you can find, because they will be very white and the spores (dark part of the mushrooms) are still small. Older mushrooms tend to be darker with larger spores. And second, cook everything on very low heat, so that it doesn’t colour. And, as is important with all soups, make sure you serve the soup really, really hot. Lukewarm soup is just disgusting.

Mushroom Soup

Cream of mushroom soup (4 plates/bowls)

knob of butter
2 shallots, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
250 gram mushrooms
1 glass of white wine
500 ml vegetable stock
100 ml cream
salt and pepper
optional: ham or bacon
optional: chopped chives

Melt the butter in a cooking pot on medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic, cook on low heat until soft and translucent. Don’t let it colour!
Put aside a few slices of mushroom. Add the rest of the mushrooms, cook on low heat while stirring occasionally until soft. Add the wine, leave to boil for a minute to cook of the harsh taste of the alcohol. Then add the stock. Boil for a few minutes to completely cook the mushrooms.
Turn of the heat and use a hand-held blender to blend the soup until smooth.
Turn the heat back on and add the cream and the slices of mushroom you put aside. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat until everything is warmed through.
Scoop into plates and garnish with the ham or bacon, and chives (if using). Serve immediately in warmed soup plates or bowls.

Chicken ragout

I love to make bouillon in weekends or holidays. The long, slow process has something relaxing, and as a bonus you end up with a lovely smelling house and a delicious meal. Because were only with 2 at home, I either have to make several things with the bouillon, or I have to freeze some. This time I used part of it for a lovely chicken soup, and part of it for a ragout. I don’t think there are many people making this at home, because you can buy tins of it in the Netherlands, but it is delicious to make it yourself and fun as well. This time I served it in vol-au-vents (shopbought) but it is also delicious served over rice.

Important for a good bouillon is a good, flavoursome chicken. In the past I used to use chicken legs from the supermarket or the market, but those are from young chickens, so they don’t have a strong flavour. Buying a real soup chicken, which is old, tough and not suitable for anything other than cooking it for a long time to make bouillon, gives you a bouillon with lots and lots more flavour. It’s worth it to look for it, but shop around for it a bit, because at some spots soup chickens are extremely expensive, and at some places they are insanely cheap.

Chicken bouillon, soup and ragout (serves 2 people twice)

1 small soup chicken
1 large onion, peeled and chopped in large chunks
1 leek, cleaned and chopped in large chunks
1 medium carrot, washed and chopped in large chunks
3 ribs celery, washed and chopped in large chunks
2 bay leaves
12 pepper corns, crushed
piece of mace
1 clove
few sprigs of thyme
few sprigs of parsley
2 tsp salt (this is not enough, but you can always add more later in the process)

1/2 of the meat from the chicken
300 g soup vegetables

4 vol-au-vents
1/2 of the meat from the chicken
60 g butter
50 g flour
250 ml bouillon
250 ml white wine (can be substituted by more bouillon)
50 ml cream
salt and pepper
lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped herbs (like parsley, chives, chervil)

Place all the ingredients for the bouillon in a large pan and cover with 2 liter cold water. Bring slowly to the boil and simmer for a few hours.
Take out the chicken and set aside. Pour the bouillon through a sieve into another pan, press the liquid from the vegetables (not too much, that will cloud the bouillon), then throw away. I usually boil down the bouillon a little further to intensify the flavour.
Take a clean tea towel and rinse under cold water. Wring out and use it to line a sieve. Pour the bouillon through the towel and sieve into another pan. This will filter out the fine sediment and most of the fat. The bouillon is now ready to use.

Set aside the amount of bouillon you need for the ragout and use the rest for the bouillon.

Peel the skin from the chicken and discard. Pick all the flesh from the chicken and discard the bones, sinewy bits and other bits that are not nice to eat. Shred or slice the meat into chunks, mix up the dark and the light meat and divide in two.

For the soup, bring the bouillon to the boil, add the vegetables and cook for a few minutes (until tender but still slightly crisp). Season with salt to taste. Add the chicken and cook for another minute to heat through. Serve hot.

For the ragout, prepare the vol-au-vents according to package instructions. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan and add the flour. Stir well. Cook on low heat while stirring for a few minutes. Gradually add the stock and wine, while stirring to prevent lumps. Cook to heat through and thicken for a few minutes. Add the cream, stir well. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste and the green herbs. Add the chicken and cook for another minute to heat through. Serve immediately with the vol-au-vents.

Carrot-lentil soup

Lentil soup is a favourite in our house, but as it goes with all favourite recipes, it has changed a bit since I started making it. Nowadays, I serve the soup as it is, I don’t add stuff like quinoa or chicken, and I don’t serve naan with it, because it really doesn’t need it. I also don’t roast the spices in a separate pan any more, I just add them to the vegetables. I don’t soak my lentils, because they cook in 30 minutes even without soaking. I use a teaspoon of sambal badjak instead of the chili powder and I also add 1/2 tsp garam masala. And I use a drop of oil, instead of the butter, because you don’t need a lot of fat to bake everything in (the golden bits that get stuck in the pan will give extra flavour) and you will not taste the difference anyway.
But sometimes it is not possible to use all the different veggies, basically because you cannot buy them in small amounts and will not finish them before they spoil. Or you have something left over that is on the brink of spoiling. Or both, as in my case. I had a large carrot that desperately needed to be used up, so I made the lentil soup into a very delicious carrot-lentil soup, with slightly different spices than the standard lentil soup.

Carrot-lentil soup

Lentil soup (2 big bowls)

1 tsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped (about 500 gram)
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp sambal badjak
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp curry powder
3 cardamom pods
2 stock cubes (I usually use vegetable)
1 cup yellow or orange lentils
juice of half a lemon
salt, pepper, chili powder

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion, cook until soft and translucent. Then add the carrot, cook until slightly caramelized. Add the ginger and garlic, sambal and all the spices, cook until fragrant. Add the stock cubes, lentils and enough water to cover. Cook the soup for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are very soft. Blend, pour through a sieve and press all the liquid from the solids in the sieve. Add the lemon juice and extra water if the soup is too thick. Taste and add extra seasoning (salt, pepper, chili powder) if necessary. Serve hot.

Potato and leek soup

This delicious, hearty and filling soup transforms the humble ingredients potato and leek to a refined and delicate dish. There is one problem: the soup doesn’t look very nice. The combination of the colours of leek and potato give it a slightly icky colour, and the texture before binding the soup with butter and cream doesn’t help either. Therefore I use a picture of the ingredients instead of the finished soup for this recipe. But don’t let the slightly icky look hold you from making and eating this soup, after the first spoon you will know that it is completely worth it! In France this soup is called potage bonne femme (good woman’s soup).

Potato and leek soup

Potato and leek soup (serves 2 as a main course, more if you also serve bread)

50 gram butter
1 large onion, cubed
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
600 ml chicken or vegetable bouillon (from cube is fine)
1 bay leave
2 large leeks, rinsed well and sliced in rings
150 ml cream
salt and pepper
Optional: crisp bits of bacon

Melt a quarter of the butter in a soup pan. Add the onion, cook until soft and translucent.
Add the potato, cook them a few minutes, then add the stock and the bay leave. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are just tender. This takes about 10 minutes.
Add the leeks, bring to a simmer and cook until the leeks are soft. This will take about 5 minutes.
Puree the soup. Place a sieve over another pan, scoop some of the soup in there and use a wooden spoon to press most of it through, leaving the tough bits behind. Repeat until all the soup has passed through. It may seem tempting to use a blender for this, but don’t! The starch in the potato will get free and your soup will resemble wallpaper glue.
Stir in the cream and bring back to serving temperature. Don’t let the soup boil any more, as the cream might split. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir through the remaining butter in small cubes. The cream and butter will give the soup a lovely texture and shine.

Tomato Cream Soup

This soup is very easy and fast to make, but also very satisfying to eat. A generous serving in a big bowl with some bread and cheese or butter is a perfect dinner, but a small portion served in a nice deep plate, decorated with some extra cream is a perfect elegant starter.

The soup is thickened/bound slightly with a roux. Although this isn’t really necessary, I like the soup better this way. Passata/sieved tomatoes always have a slightly irregular texture which makes the mouth feeling a bit weird for me. By binding the soup (which only takes a few minutes extra), this feeling disappears.

Tomato Cream Soup (2-4 servings)

1,5 tbsp butter
1,5 tbsp flour
1 package (500 g) passata (sieved tomatoes)
1 stock cube (I used vegetable, but chicken is nice as well)
salt and pepper
75 ml coffee cream (cream with 20% fat)

Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour, stir until a paste has formed, making sure there are no lumps in there. I prefer to use a wooden spatula for the whole process, but some people rather use a whisk. Cook it for 1-2 minutes to cook out the flour, this makes sure that the soup will not taste like raw flour. But don’t let it brown!
Start adding the passata a small splosh at a time, stirring well before adding another splosh. Stirring well after each splosh prevents getting lumps. When the roux is already thinned out quite a bit the risk for lumps is smaller, so you can add more fluids at one time. Pour some water in the passata package, use this to get out the last bits of tomato and to thin out the soup. Leave it to boil for a few minutes to get rid of the acidity of the tomato. Add the stock cube and season the soup with salt (if necessary) and pepper. Add some more water if the soup is too thick. Make sure the soup is boiling hot.
Add 50 ml of the cream and use the other 25 ml for decoration, or just add all the cream and don’t decorate. Serve immediately.