This time of year calls for soup. There is nothing more warming than a bowl of the good stuff, and the fact that you can load it with pretty much anything that needs using up, means it’s my staple lunch time filler. I’m yet to get the bairns into it – L is still a bit young as I think he’d have more fun turning the bowl upside down and successfully scalding himself, but I noticed Tilly looking quizzically at what I was having for my lunch, and there’s nothing like eating something in front of your toddler to get them trying new things. I can’t see why a bowl of homemade minestrone wouldn’t go down a storm, loaded with grated cheese on top (depending on the hunger you can add more pasta and technically I guess it’s a bowl of veggie pasta that you can get away with calling a soup). Butternut squash laced with ginger is another fave; or chunky chickpea and kale if I’m really feeling virtuous.
The key to many a good soup however, is soffritto - a delicious slow cooked mixture of onions, carrots and celery. The perfect opportunity to use veg which might have lost its looks due to spending a little too long at the back of your fridge.
2 red or white onions
3 sticks of celery
S & P
Finely chop your onions and add to the pan with a decent slug of olive oil and season. Cook on a low heat, stirring a little. Whilst waiting for your onions to cook, wash (peel if necessary) and chop your carrots and celery. When the onions are translucent, throw in the rest of the veg, season a bit more, and stir well. Then pop a lid on and leave to cook on a low heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. You will be left with a delicious sweet and sticky soffritto building block to use for soups, stews, sauces and risotto, and make a big batch as it will keep well in the fridge for up to a week.