James Street Cookery School: Soups – Kale and walnut, broccoli with blue cheese
MY FOCUS this week is on soup. As we edge towards autumn and the weather begins to turn, a piping hot bowl of homemade soup is the perfect way to warm up.
Soup is among my favourite foods – so convenient and versatile you can have it for lunch, starter, or dinner. It ‘s a great way to use up any extra ingredients in the fridge that are nearing their use–by date.
Even though there are so many possible variations most of us tend to stick to the classics – vegetable, tomato and basil or potato and leek – so here are a couple of alternatives.
KALE AND WALNUT SOUP
2 tbsp olive oil
30g red onion, diced
30g celery, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 pinch thyme, dried is fine
75g haricot and/or cannellini beans (tinned are fine)
500ml vegetable stock
50g kale, shredded
4 walnuts, chopped and toasted
4 almonds, chopped and toasted
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and fry off the red onion. After a minute or two add in the celery and garlic and cook until soft. Add in the thyme, white beans and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
Add the kale and cook for 10 minutes. When the kale is cooked through take half of the mix and blend it. If the blended mixture is too thick, add some water, if too runny add it back to the pot and cook through for a little bit longer.
To cook the walnuts and almonds, place them in a dry pan on a low heat and cook until toasted – carefully, as they can burn easily.
When everything is ready, ladle the soup into a bowl; garnish with the walnuts and almonds and serve with a drizzle of olive oil.
BROCCOLI WITH BLUE CHEESE SOUP
6 shallots, finely diced
3 potatoes, peeled and diced
4 celery sticks, sliced
1.5 litres chicken stock
950g tender stem broccoli, chopped
400g Young Buck blue cheese, room temperature
A pinch of nutmeg
200ml double cream or crème fraiche
Croutons to garnish
Melt the butter in a large pot; add the shallots and cook on a gentle heat until soft. Add the potatoes and celery and stir until coated. Add the stock, bring the liquid to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
Add the broccoli and cook for a couple of minutes until the stalks become tender. Take three quarters of the soup mixture, blend together and add back into the pot. Crumble in the blue cheese, black pepper and nutmeg. Check the taste for seasoning – add salt if needed.
Finally, add in the cream or crème fraiche and cook through. When it is ready to serve, ladle into a bowl and garnish with croutons.