Let’s make the most of seasonal vegetables this week. A tasty, hearty soup that has options depending on time and the number of pans you can be bothered washing! My daughter ‘prettied up’ our soup with cream and chilli flakes. This is definitely not necessary tho the chilli flakes were lovely.
Autumn Veg Soup
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 sticks celery, finely diced
- 700g vegetables, unpeeled, if possible and diced – select at least 3 from: carrots pumpkin, squash, celeriac, beetroot swede, parsnip, turnip
- a bouquet garni
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 4garlic cloves, lightly crushed
- 100g pearl barley
- 1.2 ltr vegetable stock
- (optional)150g kale, Savoy cabbage or similar, shredded
- salt and pepper
Heat it in a large saucepan or casserole. Add the onion, celery and all the vegetables (and meat, if using) and sauté gently, stirring regularly, until starting to caramelise slightly around the edges.
Meantime, in a separate pan, add the bouquet garni, oregano and garlic to the pan along with the pearl barley. Season with salt and pepper and add the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and partially cover. Simmer gently for around 25 minutes. Strain into a large bowl or jug, remove bouquet garni and put pearl barley to the side. Add stock into the pan with sauteed veg, add a little more stock or water if necessary – it should be quite a thick, hearty soup. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes until the greens are completely wilted down, the vegetables are tender and breaking up, blend, then add the barley back in (carefully as it tends to lump together!). Check for seasoning and serve with a lovely crusty bread.
As this is a hybrid soup from 2 different recipes, you have options. You can cook the barley in with the veg and not blend, this uses less fuel and it’s just as tasty. You could roast the butternut squash first, slice in half, oil and season, face down on a tray, pop in the oven for around 30 mins, this allows you to scoop out the flesh and add to your soup. This is great if you have an oven that is on all the time, an everhot cooker or similar. Serve it with nice bread and maybe cheddar and it is a complete meal. If you are not vegetarian you can pop some chicken or turkey in the pan at the same time as you fry the veggies. A real prep shortcut is to use frozen butternut squash or sweet potato.