When winter settles in, we're naturally drawn to foods that are warming, nourishing and bring a cosy feel to our meals - Comfort food. Soup offers infinite possibilities - from the most rustic and hearty, to the ultimate in refined sophistication. They all have their place.
This is a healthy, hearty and nourishing soup that uses orange vegetables for a dose of sunshine coloured goodness. It's delicious, simple to make, easy to reheat, can be frozen and reheated (valuable for an easy meal when time is short).
The proportions can be adjusted to suit - Both for quantity, and for the mix of vegetables selected.
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of ras al hanout (Moroccan spice mix)
50 grams of butter
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
500 grams of pumpkin, peeled and diced
500 grams of orange sweet potato, peeled and diced
250 grams of carrots, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 an orange
1 1/2 - 2 litres of water, chicken, meat or vegetable stock
4 tablespoons of caramelised onion
Coriander leaves to sprinkle
Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wash the leek thoroughly and slice finely. Peel and chop the garlic. Melt the butter gently in a large, heavy pan, add 1/2 a teaspoon of salt. Put the leeks and garlic into the pan, cook until soft but not browned. Add the ras al-hanout and stir through. Add the vegetables and bay leaf, stir. Pour over the stock or water, squeeze in the juice of the orange.
Simmer until the vegetables have cooked down to a nice, soft consistency. Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly, remove bay leaf before blending to a velvet-smooth puree - Season to taste. Bring back up to heat before serving.
Ladle hot soup into warmed bowls. Spoon over some warm, caramelised onion, scatter some fresh coriander leaves, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper.
This is just one serving suggestion - the options are endless. You could try:
- Crumbled blue cheese and fresh thyme
- Toasted nuts and seeds, scattered with some chopped parsley
- Crisp fried bacon and sage leaves
- Spoonful of yoghurt and sprinkle of dukkah
It's a good time of year to enjoy a bit of hibernation and some soul food - And to get out and embrace the chilly weather, knowing you have a warm soup to come home to - or to enjoy at work for an easy, healthy lunch.
Nicola is passionate about good, clean cooking and sharing great food ideas for doctors. Click below to read more from Nicola's series of seasonal food articles: