Creamy vegetable soup and plum crumble

Creamy vegetable soup

I had to take a break from Taste & Create over the summer, because I knew I just wouldn’t have time for it. Now I’m back, paired with Carol of No Reason Needed. Carol likes lemons, so is obviously a kindred spirit. But in the end, I decided to skip over the many lemon-based recipes and go for a simple, homely soup, in order to use some of the veg from our organic box. As the weather is getting a bit cooler, it made a nice supper with some good bread, followed by plum crumble and custard.

I made a few slight tweaks to Carol’s recipe. It makes a lot of soup — enough for at least 6-8 servings — so there’s plenty left to freeze for later in the winter. Thickening soup with rice is a first for me — it worked well, but actually I like the taste and texture of potato in soup so much that I think I’d go back to potato next time. I only used half the specified amount of rice, because I’d nearly run out of rice, but the soup was still quite thick. And I added some spices.

2 tbsp olive oil or butter
2 medium leeks, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp mixed black/white mustard seed
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp each salt, pepper and thyme
100 ml dry white wine
1.5 litres vegetable or chicken stock
50 ml long grain rice
1 cup each broccoli and cauliflower florets (I used 1/4 of a cauliflower and the same quantity of broccoli)
1 bay leaf
fresh chopped parsley to garnish

Crush the mustard and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar. In a large saucepan, heat oil or butter over medium high heat; sweat leeks, celery, carrots, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper and thyme until vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in white wine, scraping any bits from bottom of pan. Cook until wine is reduced by half. Add the rest of the vegetables, the rice, the stock, and the bay leaf. Simmer until rice and vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Puree the soup in batches, return to pan to reheat, taste and adjust seasoning. I felt it needed the extra warmth of the coriander (not called for in the original recipe) to make it more interesting.

Serve in warmed soup bowls, garnished with chopped parsley..

For the crumble, I used reines claudes (greengages) simply stoned and quartered and sprinkled with a couple of tablespoons of demerara sugar. Then I added a finely diced knob of preserved ginger and drizzled over about a tablespoon of the syrup from the ginger jar. I used a classic crumble mix, but it would be nice with this almond crumble mix too. Served with home-made custard, but stem ginger or vanilla ice cream would be good too.

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