A friend of mine hosts an annual soup evening. Everyone brings a soup, or bread or wine. The night is always a runaway success and we end up talking about the various soups for months after. I was telling another friend about this and he thought it sounded most uninteresting. According to him soup is the most uninspiring of all culinary experiences and an entire evening dedicated to the ingesting of this grossly unassuming food group seems to him about as much fun as a Tupperware party.
He’s wrong of course. While the butternut and tomato soups of our youth are hardly something to get excited about, today’s various flavour combinations are far too alluring to be dismissed. Think beetroot and fennel with ginger cream. Or roasted duck with gooseberries. My own take to the party was a pear and Roquefort soup, and the evening’s winner was the hostess’s own chicken satay.
Soup got sexy.
It’s never just a tomato soup anymore. There’s basil with hints of red pepper and the smokiness of black sea salt (you’re not still using that white stuff are you?) which add subtle but powerful nuances to that previously humble brew. Butternut soup? You mean roasted garlic and butternut with a hint of saffron puree.
There’s no end to all the incredible ways you can spice up your mix. Try a dollop of pesto or a handful of fresh herbs in your bowl. A few shavings of parmesan (can you ever go wrong with cheese?) are always a tantalizing addition, and a drop of truffle oil will transform any soup.
There’s nothing ‘Tupperware’ about soup anymore. And while there’s nothing wrong with revisiting old favourites (I am practically a slave to our family’s leek and potato soup recipe) I highly recommend adding something a little more exotic to your repertoire. Like this Pear and Roquefort soup:
- 1 chopped onion
- 3 pears, peeled, cored and chopped
- 400ml vegetable stock
- ½ tsp paprika
- juice of half a lemon
- 170g of Roquefort cheese, crumbled
- Sweat the onion till soft and then add the pears and the stock
- Simmer for 10 minutes
- Stir in the lemon juice, paprika and the cheese
- Allow to cool slightly
- Puree using a handheld blender
- Strain through a mesh strainer
But if you’re pressed for time or not in the mood for cooking from scratch, then why not try one of the delicious offerings from the Palace itself! Pesto Princess has just launched a range of handmade soups, and with four fabulous new flavours, you’ll be spoilt for choice: Carrot Soup with a hint of citrus, Classic Tomato Soup with fresh basil, Pea & Pesto Soup with their own basil pesto (naturally), and Red Lentil Soup with coconut milk. Find these in the fridges of your local Spar, or Wellness Warehouse.
Great on their own or with a little something extra (think sliced chorizo in the Pea & Pesto, or a swirl of coriander pesto in the Carrot Soup), these preservative- free soups are sure to become a staple in your trolley this winter!