Recipes: Simple vegetable soups

ALISON & SIMON HOLST
Last updated 05:00 06/06/2012
soups
LINDSAY KEATS
CHEAP AND QUICK: Pumpkin soup and quick potato soup.

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We love soup so can understand its popularity, but we're amazed by the plethora of pre-prepared soups, in all their various forms, now available in supermarkets when it's so easy, and often relatively quick to make your own.

Here are a couple of our favourite vegetable soups. They are both very inexpensive, and can be made in 30 minutes or less. Try for yourself and see.

PUMPKIN SOUP

The wonderful colour and smooth texture of pumpkin soup will brighten the bleakest winter day.

For 6-8 servings:

1kg pumpkin
2 onions, chopped
2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp chicken or vegetable stock powder
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp grated nutmeg
2-3 cups milk
Salt, pepper and sugar

Cut the unpeeled pumpkin into chunks and scrape away and discard the seeds and stringy part with a spoon. Put all the other ingredients except the milk and final seasonings into a saucepan, lay the pieces of pumpkin on top, cover and simmer until the onion and pumpkin are tender.

Do not overcook the pumpkin or it will darken and lose some of its appeal.

Lift the pieces of pumpkin onto a large plate or board. As soon as they are cool enough to work with, scoop the cooked flesh back into the onion mixture and discard the skin.

Puree the pumpkin mixture, getting it as smooth as possible. Before serving, thin the puree to the desired consistency with milk, adding a little cream if you want extra richness. Season carefully. Reheat and serve.

Quick Potato Soup

This is a simple, quick and well-flavoured soup with a wonderful smooth texture that is further enhanced by the addition of a little cream.

For 4 servings:

2 onions

3 cloves garlic

3 Tbsp butter or oil

3 medium-sized potatoes (about 500g)

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 tsp sugar

Generous grind of pepper

Generous pinch grated nutmeg

1 sprig each: parsley and mint

1 pinch each: fresh or dried basil and thyme

¼ cup cream, optional

Chop the onion and garlic. Cook in the butter or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat for a few minutes, until the onion begins to brown. Scrub and dice the potatoes and add to the onion and garlic. Pour the stock over the vegetables, add the sugar, pepper, nutmeg and herbs, then stir together and cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the potato is tender.

Blend the soup until smooth. If you don't have a wand blender or food processor, force the cooked vegetables through a sieve.

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Add the cream and reheat (but do not boil) to serve.

Add a swirl of cream and a sprinkling of chopped herbs to each bowl.

- The Dominion Post

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