Golden Glow Soup
As the leaves on the trees change from green to yellow, orange and red and are finally dispelled by a few sou’ westerlies, I begin to think of warming bowls of soup. The tomatoes and summer veg are at an end – it is the season of golden squash, carrots and other root vegetables. Another harvest of the autumn is dried beans and pulses, these of course, are staples the world over, whether it is the Indian dahl, middle eastern chickpeas or haricot beans of Europe. In our more northerly climes it has traditionally been yellow or green split peas, hence the old fashioned pease pudding to accompany a ham hock. But the methods are the same, dried beans or pulses boiled with vegetables with or without bones or bits of meat, it is just the flavourings that vary. Below I give a very basic recipe that you can embellish how you wish. It is a long slow cook, but you can substitute red lentils for the split peas or even a couple of cans of drained chickpeas for super speed. You can vary the garnish to produce different tastes – try chorizo or crispy bacon fried with cubes of bread or add some cooked spinach and crumbled feta. Or add a sizzling “Tarka” – fried garlic, chilli and cumin – just before serving. As this makes about 6 portions and keeps well in the fridge, you could try different toppings on different days!
- 250g split yellow peas, soaked overnight
- 300g butternut squash (200g)
- 300g leek (170g)
- 225g celeriac (150g)
- 150g carrots
- 200g potatoes
- 2 litres chick or vegetable stock
- 1 or 2 bayleaf
- salt and peper to taste
For the Garnish
- 4 red onions ping pong ball size
- 1/4 teasp. fennel seeds
- 1/4 teasp. cumin seeds
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 150g crème fraiche
- parsley oil
Drain the split peas and rinse in cold water. Put them in a large pan with the stock and the bay leaf, cover and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down until simmering and cook until the peas are beginning to soften, this could be up to an hour depending on the age of the peas.
Cut the onions lengthways into segments and place in an oven proof casserole. Sprinkle with the seeds and the olive oil. Roast in an oven preheated to 175°C for 30/40 minutes until beginning to caramelize. Whilst the peas are cooking, prepare the vegetables.
Peel and de-seed the butternut squash and cut into chunks. Peel the celeriac and cut that into small dice less than a centimetre. Wash and peel the carrot if necessary and cut into slices. Peel the potatoes and chunk. Wash and slice the leeks. When the peas are beginning to soften, add all the vegetables and simmer for another 30 minutes until they are all soft.
At this point you can remove 4 or 5 ladles of the soup and blend with a hand blender. Return the blended mix back to the pot and season with salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle some soup into a bowl and place a dollop of crème fraiche in the centre. Top with roasted onion and drizzle the parsley oil around.