A Bowl of Soup

A Bowl of Soup

There is nothing quite as comforting and nourishing as a warm bowl of soup

A Bowl of Soup – Soup.  A rather nice four-letter word. And at this time of year, there’s nothing quite as comforting and nourishing as a warm bowl of soup and just recently a great new cookbook was published that covers everything from broths and chowders to dunkers and dippers.  “A  Bowl of Soup” by Hannah Miles is published by Ryland, Peters & Small at £20 for a hardback, packed with over 70 recipes to take you through the year with a suggestion for any reason or season.

A lawyer and MasterChef finalist, Hannah Miles has developed a second career as a cake maker and food writer. She’s written other books such as Popcorn Treats and Milkshake Bar but this latest is a real soup bible – and not content with giving recipes for the soups, Hannah gives recipes for dunkers and dippers with everything from toasties and sandwiches to crisp-breads and wraps.  To warm you up on a cold winter’s day, here are a couple of taster recipes from ‘A Bowl of Soup’

A Bowl of Soup

Massaman Potato Soup (serves 4)

“Massaman curry is a Thai delight – a mild but flavour-packed curry bursting with peanuts and potatoes and rich with coconut milk. This soup is inspired by that curry and trips to Thailand. Traditionally a Massaman curry is made with beef, but this is my vegetarian interpretation.”

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tablespoon massaman curry paste

450 g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5-cm/1-in. cubes

2 tablespoons peanut butter

200 ml coconut milk

600 ml vegetable stock

freshly squeezed juice of 1–2 limes, to taste

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

salt and pepper

salted peanuts, finely chopped, to serve

red chilli slices, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a gentle heat and sauté the onion until it is soft and translucent and starts to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook for a further few minutes, taking care it does not burn. Add the massaman paste and cook for a further 1–2 minutes.

Add the potatoes, peanut butter, coconut milk and stock and simmer until the potatoes are very soft. The potatoes will break up and the soup will thicken. Add the lime juice and maple syrup and season with salt and pepper. Although you can blend the soup, I prefer to leave the potatoes in chunks to add texture to the soup.

Pour the soup into bowls and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, chilli slices and some black pepper to serve.

A Bowl of Soup

Sausage & Cabbage Soup (serves 4)

This hearty soup reminds me of a trip to Germany with my friend Maren where we enjoyed a ‘kohl und pinkelfahrt’ – a long snowy trek through the woods, drinking schnapps, followed by steaming bowls of cabbage and sausage at the end of the walk. This soup has a meaty broth with sweetness from the cider and a tang of mustard seeds. If you prefer not to make the sausage balls, you can use cooked whole sausages instead and just cut them into slices and add to the soup. Make sure they are heated through in the soup broth before serving. To avoid having to slurp too much with this soup, make sure you cut the cabbage into short, finely shredded pieces.”

3 pork sausages

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

125 g bacon lardons

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

a large sprig of fresh rosemary

1 heaped teaspoon wholegrain mustard

300 ml pear or apple cider

700 ml beef stock

1 small Savoy cabbage, stalk and outer leaves removed, finely shredded, and rinsed

roasting pan, lined with baking parchment

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

Remove the skins from sausages and roll the meat into small balls, about 6 or 7 from each sausage. You need them to be small enough to eat in a mouthful of soup. Place them in the lined roasting pan and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until they are lightly golden brown, turning regularly so that they are golden brown all over. Drain on paper towels to remove any excess fat. Set aside whilst you prepare the soup.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a medium heat and fry the onions until soft and translucent. Add the lardons, garlic and rosemary to the saucepan and fry for a few minutes until the bacon is cooked through. Add the mustard to the saucepan and fry for 1 minute, then add the cider and stock and bring to a simmer, then cook over a low heat for 15 minutes. Add the finely shredded cabbage to the saucepan and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes until the cabbage is soft. Add the reserved sausage balls to the pan and heat for a further 5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, tasting before adding too much salt as the soup will already contain some salt from the bacon. Remove the rosemary sprig before serving into bowls, making sure that the sausage balls are evenly distributed.

A Bowl of Soup by Hannah Miles, published by Ryland Peters & Small (£20) Photography by Alex Luck © Ryland Peters & Small

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