Any dish that has the magical ability to repair skint knees, mend broken hearts and raise a smile that makes anything seem possible is worth its weight in gold! For me, this is soup. It started when I was wee; once you’d stayed out long enough to catch the start of frostbite, you’d trudge back to be greeted by the sight of kitchen windows all steamed up. You’d pull your wellies off and pace through the house in your stocking soles – and there waiting for you was a big bowl of piping hot soup.
When its cold outside, like it is now, our bodies begin to crave substance – food that will warm us from the inside-out, packing us full of energy and nutrition. It fuels you like your own internal log fire and it makes you feel invincible.
When I was younger soup was always the go-to option for lunch, a starter or snack after school. Nowadays though, there are so many options for beefing it up (no pun intended!) that enjoying soup as a main course is a great addition to your ‘go to meals’ repertoire. With a few little extra ingredients you can give yourself an excellent meal with very little hassle – it’s a simple matter of increasing the fats, carbs and proteins.
One of the simplest hearty soups you can make uses leftovers from the previous day’s dinner and I can promise you there is no better meal to choose than a Sunday roast chicken! Pick all the meat from the bones, dice all the cooked vegetables and add any leftover chicken juices to a pan with a stock cube, some of the mashed potatoes, a little more water and a couple of generous spoonfuls of crème fraiche. Very gently stir to simmer before adding all your leftovers – bring to the boil and serve with crusty bread. You will be amazed how this bad boy tastes!
Of course, when it comes to hearty soup you can’t beat a proper broth and there are two main qualities I look for in a good broth; the first is the quality of the stock and the second is the consistency. Both have to be perfect. Too much stock and it’s thin and boring to eat, too thick with pulses and you’ll be standing your spoon up in it. I prefer to use mutton for the broth but lamb or beef will work equally well. Your butcher will be able to help you with a good cut to poach slowly; I usually go for the neck as it has a fantastic flavour and texture. Just be sure to trim any excess fat off before you start. Soup perfection!
So as it begins to feel a little colder out there, fill your house with the smell of homemade soup and your boots with the champion of dinners! Cooking at its very best.
TOP TIP: Take the humble lentil soup – you can transform this by grilling some smoked bacon until it’s nice and crispy, chop it up and stir it through before topping with a good Scottish soft cheese such as crowdie. With a chunky vegetable soup, place a fillet of smoked haddock in the pan with the cold soup and very gently bring it to the boil. Meanwhile boil a couple of eggs, peel and chop them up and add to the soup before serving with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
Our Favourite Soup Recipes:
Our pals over at #SmallCityRecipes have dedicated an entire section to soup recipes! Check out their tasty to eat, easy to make, soup recipes here >>>
You can also have a look back at some of our previous ideas here on the blog including.