It is getting cooler already and I can feel soup weather coming on! One of my favourite parts of winter is the food, don’t you agree? In particular soup and slow cooker meals. Not only are they healthy and nutritious, but they save you time in the kitchen at the end of the day when everyone is tired and hungry as you can prepare them ahead of time. You can also make enough for more than one meal.
I think these kinds of meals are even tastier on the second day as the flavours have more time to deepen. I learnt how to cook soup when I was a Social Work student on a community development placement at a local council. I had the job of starting an over 50’s club in a new area of Adelaide that basically had no service infrastructure at all. At that stage of my young life (I was 20) I thought 50 was REALLY old. I have since reviewed these terms. Anyway, there was a lot of door knocking and eventually we held a dinner event. My supervisor and I cooked pumpkin soup as part of the dinner, and it was she who gave me some secret tips that have stayed with me ever since.
And this is still how I start all my soup recipes.
1) Chop the relevant vegetables
2) Splash some oil (olive, or canola or whatever is your choice, even butter) into the pan, around 2 tablespoons
3) Throw the vegies in and add good quality salt and cracked pepper
4) Add a generous sprinkle of paprika (Hungarian sweet type)
5) Saute in the oil/butter and seasoning for about 5 minutes to seal in the flavour
7) Add the stock, or water + stock cubes – I use Massel because they contain no animal products, are gluten free and free from onion and garlic which are no good for those of us on a low FODMAP diet
I have made soup this way when I have not had stock or stock cubes on hand and it has still been full of flavour.
Today I am sharing my simple Pumpkin Carrot Ginger Soup recipe. I like to serve with crusty bread or crackers for the boys – I just have the soup. I adapt this recipe depending on how much of each vegetable I have on hand, and sometimes I add turnip and swede. I try to limit the starchy vegetables (pumpkin, sweet potato and potato) due to my type 1 diabetes and wanting to keep the carbs down. If you are really low carb then you will have to consider the carrots as well in your carb counting. I eat a bowl and find I am ok as it is a big pot, but if I were to eat a couple of larger bowls the carb content would be more of a problem. Carrots, sweet potatoes and the low GI type potatoes are all low glycemic index – so they tend to have a slow impact on your blood glucose. I also keep away from garlic and onion due to my issues with FODMAP’s so you can add those in if you enjoy them as they really add flavour too. We are all individual so you have to experiment for your own health needs.
1) About a quarter of a butternut pumpkin (if wanting a more pumpkin tasting soup, add more pumpkin nd less carrot, but this recipe is more carrot based flavours and keeping lower carb)
2) About 10 – 15 large carrots
3) A piece of ginger to taste, I use about a 3 inch piece chopped finely
4) Half a sweet potato
5) 2 medium low GI potatoes such as Carisma
6) 3 or 4 sticks of celery
7) Salt and pepper, Paprika
8) Oil or butter – around 2 tablespoons
9) A splash (no I don’t really use measurements when I cook) of Worcestershire sauce
10) 2 Massel Chicken flavour stock cubes (gluten free , garlic and onion free and made from vegetables so fine for vegetarians)
11) Water to cover the vegetables
1) Chop all the vegetables into similar size cubes, or whatever! I am not a precise cook 🙂
2) Add oil or butter to pan, enough to cover the bottom and coat the vegies
3) Add salt, pepper and paprika and toss vegetables so they are all coated in the oil and seasoning, add a dash of extra oil if needed
4) Add chopped ginger
5) Cook on medium heat, tossing every now and then, for about 5-8 minutes to seal in the flavours and soften the vegetables
6) Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce to taste and cook for another minute, tossing regularly
7) Add water until all the vegetables are covered, it is up to you whether you add enough just to cover, or a bit more – it will be a thinner soup the more water you add, we like a thick soup so I usually just cover and then add a little more water during cooking if needed
8) Cover until boiling, reduce heat to a moderate simmer with the lid partly on the pot, with a gap for steam to come out
9) Simmer for around 1 – 1.5 hours, or until vegetables are very soft and soup has thickened
10) Whizz up with a hand blender, you can leave some chunks of vegetables for more texture, sometimes I leave all the vegetables in my soups and don’t blend, but with this particular recipe it is nicer when blended, especially due to potential for chunks of ginger (unless you like that).
Serve with sour cream, or grated cheese, or low fat plain yoghurt on the top, plus croutons and chopped chives if you like.
Do you love a winter soup?
* this is a previously posted blog post, update 🙂