Get the idea: Pureed soups
In classical cookery, soups are classified by the way they are thickened. My favourite method is the puree, where the soup is thickened to a creamy consistency by pureeing the ingredients without the need to thicken with flour or cornflour, which often cuts the flavour.
A pureed soup is all about flavour and makes a nutritious and comforting meal, or start to a meal when the weather is cold. The following are a few of my favourites.
Slow-fry a finely chopped large onion, a large sprig of thyme and 3-4 cloves chopped garlic in plenty of extra virgin olive oil for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add plenty of peeled agria potatoes cut into 3cm chunks and enough chicken or vegetable stock to cover. Bring to the boil, add a big handful of curly kale that has been ripped off the stalks and simmer until the potato is soft. Remove from the heat, taste and season. Puree the soup and serve each portion with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped toasted walnuts.
Put plenty of thawed frozen peas into a medium saucepan. Add the zest of a lemon and just cover with chicken stock. Bring to the boil and simmer 6 minutes. Add a knob of butter then puree the soup, taste, season, adding a little lemon juice and serve each portion with 3 or 4 raw peeled prawns which have been pan-fried in extra virgin olive oil and chopped garlic until starting to brown. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Thinly slice lots of onions and gently fry in butter (don’t let it brown) with the zest of a lemon for 20 minutes or until the onions are very soft. Add a couple of chopped peeled parsnips, cover with vegetable stock (I like the powdered Organic Rapunzel brand from Germany). Bring to the boil and simmer 15 minutes or until the parsnips are soft. Puree with several handfuls of watercress leaves and serve with a dollop of plain unsweetened, additive-free yoghurt.
Put plenty of peeled, deseeded pumpkin chunks into a saucepan with a large pinch of chilli flakes, 1 Tbsp each of sugar and toasted cumin seeds, a small sliced carrot and a small chopped onion. Add a can of crushed tomatoes in juice, cover with chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Puree, taste and season. Serve each portion with some sliced avocado, a sprinkling of toasted pumpkin seeds and coriander sprigs.
Thinly slice plenty of leeks (white parts only), place in a saucepan with plenty of extra virgin olive oil, a few cloves of chopped garlic, some finely chopped rosemary and some chopped pancetta or bacon. Fry gently for 15 minutes or until the leeks are soft. Add a can of drained cannellini beans, cover with chicken stock and simmer 15 minutes. Puree three-quarters of the soup and add it back to the unpureed mix. Taste, season and serve.