With winter arriving in the southern hemisphere & cold & flu season already with us, a hearty soup that heals & soothes is in order. This is my first instructable, but I have tried to break down each step logically as I cooked the soup for my family.
The recipe is based on the soup my granny made for us when we visited her on their farm in the mountains of Ireland. I have added a few things that granny never used, but I'm sure if she had grown it or raised it, it would have
been added to the pot!
The soup can be vegetarian or add chicken for the bonus effects for cold & flu. Both versions are delicious! Vegetarians, please forgive the addition of chicken, just omit that step when making your own.
Step 1: Ingredients:special Notes for Vegetarian Version
N.b. for vegetarian version omit these - Chicken thighs x 6 we are lucky to have a free range product available from our local supermarket
4 litres chicken stock - bought or home made or 4 litres of water & stock cubes.
Again for vegetarians you can use "chicken style" vegetable stock like I have here or use water & veg stock cube.
Step 2: Ingredients : Root Vegetables
1 swede or turnip
Optional: 1 potato
Step 3: Ingredients: Allium
1 large Onion
2 medium leeks
2-3 cloves garlic (not in original recipe, but good for colds)
Step 4: Ingredients: Other Vegetables
1/4 pumpkin - here is another extra granny didn't use. I have a kent pumpkin here, but have also used butternut squash
3corn on the cob -again another extra not used by granny, can either use fresh or frozen, but on the cob adds an extra sweet & nutty dimension
3-4 celery sticks
Step 5: Ingredients: Seasoning
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Step 6: Prepare Root Vegetables
Wash, peel and chop the carrots, parsnip & swede. Pop into a large clean saucepan.
Step 7: Prepare Allium
Peel and chop onion.
Peel & chop garlic cloves.
To prepare the leeks, cut off the root & green tops, I forgot to take the before & after photos of this part! Take off the outer layer of the leek, cut in half and rinse under running cold water to ensure any dirt trapped between the layers is removed. Slice leeks.
Add to soup pot.
Step 8: Prepare Corn
Corn cobs need to have leaves & silk taken off & rinsed under cold water. Put into the pot whole-yes whole! Cooking on the cob adds an extra sweet, nuttiness that loose corn does not provide. Once the soup is cooked, the corn cobs are removed & corn kernels cut off to be returned to the soup.
Step 9: Prepare Pumpkin or Squash
Remove seeds from pumpkin. Cut pumpkin into smaller pieces that are easier to work with. Use a knife to remove the skin not a peeler. Cut into bite size pieces. These dissolve in the soup once cooked, giving it a lovely golden hue.
Put into soup pot.
Step 10: Prepare Celery
Remove tougher outer leaves - perfect for stock. Wash 3-4 stalks of celery and slice before adding to the pot. I like to add a few of the leaves, but not too many as they can be bitter.
Step 11: Finishing Off the Prep
Add your stock or water & stock cubes, bay leaves. Ensure liquid covers vegetables in the pot.
Add a grinding of salt & pepper- add less rather than more as it is easier to add more at the end when the soup is cooked.
You can now add the optional extras of 1/2 a cup of red lentils & 1/2 a cup of pearl barley to the pot. I always add this to my vegetarian soup.
If you are choosing to add chicken, pop it in now. Like the corn it will be tender once cooked and can be cut up at the end.
Step 12: Cooking the Soup
Put a lid on the soup pot. Bring the soup up to a boil, then turn the heat down low enough to keep it at a gentle simmer for half an hour. Test your barley, vegetables and chicken are all cooked. Taste for seasoning, now is the time to add more salt/pepper if needed.
Remove the corn cobs carefully they will be hot. I use tongs. Cut down the length of each Cobb to remove the kernels & return kernels to the pot.
Do the same with the chicken, remove pieces from the pot & remove the cooked meat from the bones, returning meat to the pot.
Step 13: Serving the Soup
Finally, remove the bay leaves & serve the soup.
We like it with crusty bread. Granny used to make her own soda bread along with it. Don't have the recipe for that one!
The vegetarian option is really nice with bread & a mature cheddar type cheese.
I hope you enjoy.
It has been suggested that this could be made in a slow cooker, but being so used to cooking it on the stove top I've never tried it.
This freezes well & has always gone down a treat with friends & neighbours when they've been sick. I always make the vegetarian option when I go to visit a new mum as a freezer standby meal.