I always put off making soup with leftovers as it seems a bit of a cop out. Surely I can think of something far more exciting than soup? However, I then end up with a stew of some description, or a veggie curry, or stockpiles of veg chilli: a repertoire of leftover standby dishes that make soup seem such a refreshing idea.
I should make soup more often. Not too often or we’d get sick of it, but I don’t think I make it enough. It is one of the few dishes that I can count on each member of the family scraping their plate (well, bowl) clean and is the only way I can ensure we all sit down to eat lunch together at the weekend.
I am a firm believer that when it comes to soup the simpler the better. Think of the classic pairings – tomato and basil, carrot and coriander, leek and potato. Or even simpler, those with just one key ingredient – tomato, mushroom, onion. The list of potential soups is far greater than the number of vegetable types in the world. And fruits too, come to that, as fruit soups have become popular in recent years (perhaps I will trial some this summer, but I am wary to even try feeding my family a gazpacho or vichyssoise so I am unsure how the mere suggestion of a fruit soup would go down).
This soup, taste-wise, was somewhere between leek and potato, and carrot and coriander. The quantities below were enough to feed 2 adults and 2 children.
So, what was in it?
1 small potato
A splash of oil
A knob of butter (optional)
6-8 sage leaves
A pint of stock (chicken in this instance as that was what needed using, but vegetable is great if you want to make it vegetarian)
Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan (I think butter brings out the flavour of sage better which is why I used both but it can easily be omitted). Chop the veg into smallish chunks and tear the sage leaves. Add them all to the pan and fry until the onion is nicely softened and the sage is beautifully fragrant. Pour over the warm stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the veg is soft enough to puree. Blend and season to taste. Add a little extra water if the soup is too thick.
Food stuff finished:
The ingredients in this soup were not leftovers of my creation (bar the forgotten stock cube), but rather from where I sourced them. The vegetables were from my Wonky Veg Box of the previous entry, and the sage was in my freezer, purchased from Sainsbury’s reduced box for 19p as it had reached its use by date.
Soup is so versatile. It can be sipped from a cup. You can dip bread or crackers in it (or anything, really. I might have dipped a pain au chocolat in my soup earlier this week. Or if you are feeling fancy you may want to ‘finish it’ – a swirl of extra virgin olive oil or a flavoured oil like basil or chilli, a drizzle of yoghurt, croutons or breadcrumbs, crisps of bacon. In the instance of this soup I would fry some extra sage leaves in butter until crisp and scatter them on top.