There are very few things that could make me like winter. The perspective of wearing (his) cashmere sweaters is one. Getting to wear my beloved boots is another. But the strongest of them all is finally having the possibility to eat soup for every meal without people looking at me like I’m crazy. Craving soup is the #1 sign that it is winter in my book (I know spring is back when I want to buy nail polish in every pastel colour there is…).
I LOVE soup. Not only is it really healthy (5-a-day in a bowl? YES PLEASE!), but it also keeps you warm and it’s SUPER-EASY to make. Not to mention it’s the perfect excuse to eat snacks as part of a meal… ‘Cause you see, one other thing I love is adding toppings to my soups.
So today I thought I’d share my favourite soup, as well as my ultimate soup garnishes.
I first made this soup almost by accident. We went to the market on the weekend and got a rather massive Crown Prince Squash, that I was planning to roast. A few days later, the temperatures plummeted, and as it was to be expected, I started craving soup… We didn’t have many other veggies in the fridge, except for a few old carrots, that needed to be eaten rather sooner than later. So I thought I’d just cook them together and see what happened.
And I’m so glad I did. There’s something almost magical about squash in soup; it makes for a thick, smooth texture that I yet haven’t manage to get with any other kind of vegetables. I like Crown Prince Squash above all others because it has a nutty flavour than works really well with the sweetness of the carrot, but also because, unlike every other squash, you don’t have to peel it. Lazy and yummy? Sounds like my kind of food!
Crown Prince Squash & vegetables soup
Feeds 2-3 people (depending on how much you like your soup!)
Peel 2 small carrots, 2 small potatoes, 1 onion and 250g of squash (you can use other kind of squash of course! For the record, it also works well with butternut).
In a big saucepan, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add all your vegetables and pan-fry them for about 5 minutes (until the onion start getting golden).
Add water (just enough to cover the vegetables) and 1 stock cube (I like chicken best, but vegetables works too!). Reduce the heat to a small simmer and cook until you can mash the vegetables easily with a spoon (about 20 minutes).
Blend the soup (I use a hand mixer). Taste it and add salt if required.
Pour in bowls and get crazy with your garnishes! Here are a few ideas:
The Ultimate Soup Toppings list
- Croque-Monsieur /cheese toastie: not a garnish as such, but it has melted cheese, so I think you’ll forgive me.
- Soy roasted cashew nuts: recipes coming soon (but M&S soy-roasted seeds are good too).
- Pesto: since you’ll already have to wash your blender, why not DIY? All you have to do is blend basil, pine or cashew nuts, parmesan and olive oil until you get a paste. The additional of a little bit of garlic would make wonders with this soup.
- Hazelnuts: I’ve been obsessed with hazelnuts lately. You can just crush a few and sprinkle on your bowls. You can also roast them in a hot pan for a few minutes, and crush them with some cumin and a pinch of salt to get a delicious homemade duqqa. Your call.
- Cheese: I’m afraid I don’t like cheese but I believe blue cheeses, like stilton or Roquefort, would work quite well against the relative sweetness of this soup. Or go ahead and make parmesan crisps…
- Fried chorizo + onion dice + croutons: YUM!
- BACON! Obviously. I am still looking for something that isn’t made better by the addition of bacon.
Do you usually put any garnish on your soups? Let me know which ones you like (I’d hate to be missing out on any of them!)