After a week of Cornish food, I have found myself eating lots of lighter foods this week. Less cream and chocolate and more vegetables and salad. After a quick trip to the allotment, I was presented with some fat leeks,crisp spring onions and a bunch of colourful rainbow chard.
The chard I tend to fry off in olive oil, garlic and a touch of chilli and eat it as a side dish or throw it into a dhal, curry or stew. I always cook the stems for five minutes before adding in the chopped up leaves which only take a minute or two to soften.
The leeks and the spring onions, I thought would be perfect in so many ways. Risottos, roasted in oil, chargrilled, added to a spring vegetable pizza………….But after a rumble through the freezer I came across a nice big pouch of chicken stock, so broth it would have to be. A stock based soup in which I have poached the spring vegetables with addition of a couple of garnishes.
For this soup, I like to cook out the leeks so that they blend in and begin to break down into the stock before briefly blanching the remaining vegetables for a contrasting crunch and freshness of taste. Another two tasty additions are home-made croutons and generous amount of freshly grated Parmesan. This provides a real umami hit, bringing it to life so much more than simply adding salt.
This simple, thrifty, delicate vegetable laden soup will be added in to several of the monthly blogging challenges for April which are as follows:
- -1 litre of chicken stock (home made or shop bought),
- -2 large leeks washed trimmed and finely sliced,
- -4 spring onions finely sliced,
- -1 small bunch of fine asparagus chopped into chunks or 8 asparagus spears cut in half lengthways then chopped into pieces,
- -A few heads and stalks of purple sprouting/sprouting broccoli with the stalks trimmed into small chunks,
- -A handful of frozen peas,
- -A chunk of Parmesan for grating,
- -Salt & Pepper,
- -Stale bread to make croutons with,
- -Olive oil/chilli oil
- For the croutons:)
- 1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
- 2. Roughly chop up the stale bread into chunks then place in a bowl and toss in olive oil or chilli oil,
- 3. Place the croutons onto a baking tray and bake for 10 mints until they are golden around the edges,
- 4.Set aside until the broth has been made.
- For the broth:)
- 1. Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a large saucepan then add in the finely sliced leeks and simmer the soup on a medium heat for 10 minutes until the leeks are very soft and beginning to break up then check the seasoning,
- 2. Add in all of the other vegetables, bring the soup back to the boil and simmer for a further 2 minutes so that the vegetables retain a little crunch,
- 3. Divide the soup into bowls and grate over a generous amount of Parmesan and lots of crisp croutons,
- 4. Serve with lots of bread, extra Parmesan and more croutons.