Wednesday, January 14, 2015

SOUP IN SHANGHAI

Today it's cold, wet and really miserable here in Shanghai. Immediately my thoughts turn to soup. A nice plate of hot soup is just what's needed to chase off those post holiday, cold weather blues.

I love making soup. I make it most weeks, and make all kinds. Whatever looks good at the market, or whatever I have in the vegetable basket can all be turned into something tasty. I like to keep it simple and fuss free. There are occasions when something a bit more special is required but today is not one of those days.


Today I have leeks and potatoes and a bunch of thyme. So no problem there in thinking of what I can make. Leek and potato is one of my husband's favourite soups so he will be a happy man to come home to this.


This is such an easy recipe, as most of my soup recipes are. A simple, fast, no fuss soup.
I wash the chopped leeks and add to some oil. Choice of oil is up to you. Today I am using olive oil. I add a pinch of salt, which draws the moisture out of onions stopping them from burning. I don't want colour on my leeks as I like this to be a nice white soup. 
Once they have softened I stir in the chopped potatoes and two teaspoons of fresh thyme. If you don't have fresh a teaspoon of dried will work perfectly okay. I add large pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. 
Lastly I add boiling water, yes water not stock, to the pan. Just enough to cover the vegetables. Bring to the boil then cover and turn down to a simmer.


You may be asking why I don't use stock. Well, to be honest sometimes I do, but if you have good fresh vegetables that is what you want to taste. So unless I have homemade stock I prefer to use water. With water that's what you get, the taste of your vegetables. You can use stock but it does slightly alter the flavour. Just remember to season well. Check seasonings at all stages.
As soon as potatoes soften, this will only take about 10-15 minutes, turn off soup. You can leave it at this stage to let the flavours meld into each other. Or if you're ready to eat it you can now blend it. My preferred method is with a stick blender. Its easy to use and easy to clean up. But a blender can also be used. Just more washing up!


Once it's all blended check again for seasoning. This is really important. You can sieve at this point too which will give a really smooth soup, but it will taste just as delicious as is.
If it's too thick you can add some boiling water, not too much, or cream to get it to the correct consistency. 
So all thats left to do now is to put it into a bowl and enjoy the fruits, or should it be the vegetables of your labour?


Over the years I have made all sorts of soups, and I never tire of making it. I love how easy and how rewarding a small amount of work can be. It's no more difficult than chopping a few vegetables and adding complimentary seasonings. 
I hope you will enjoy making your own concoctions as much as I enjoy making mine.





3 comments:

  1. I've just been making leek and potato soup too, great minds....! It's one of our favourites.

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  2. This is the sort of soup that just can't be bettered on a cold and miserable day. Perfect for January around here. I must admit that I normally use stock in most soups but sometimes it's out of habit and it really doesn't add much to the flavour at the end. Good to see you back and blogging again.

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