Leek and potato soup

This is a favourite of our family, and normally my husband makes it. I have prised the recipe out of him however, and here it is below!

Ingredients

  • 1 bacon hock
  • 1 onion
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A handful of herbs
  • 6 large potatoes, peeled
  • 6 leeks, washed and with the outer leaves removed, sliced in rounds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 rashers of additional bacon

Method

Combine bacon hock, onion, peppercorns, garlic and herbs into a stock pan. Cover with water and simmer for 2-3 hours. Strain to remove all the bits and allow the bacon hock to cool enough to remove the meat from the bone.

Simmer the leeks and some additional garlic in some butter until tender. Pour stock back into pan and add potatoes. Cook until potatoes are soft.

Blend, mash or process the potato and leek broth until smooth and return to the heat. Add in the bacon hock meat. Season to taste (I find it often needs a little pepper, but the bacon is normally salty enough).

Cook the extra rashers of bacon, chop into small bits and garnish the soup with these and a bit of parsley if you have it to hand.

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The Soup Series continues – Pea and Ham soup the crockpot way

I was a bit dubious about this at first, but it makes a fabulous soup which is really easy and naturally gluten-free.  This was a huge hit with the 5-year old brigade, because “it tastes like the daycare soup”. I think this is a compliment to the daycare cook! Very filling and nice and traditional.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bacon hock
  • 500g green split peas
  • 2 onions
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • pepper to taste
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves or 2 tsp crushed garlic

Method

Rinse and drain the split peas.

Put the split peas in the crockpot first, then add all other ingredients. Cook on low for about 9 hours (overnight or during the day).

Remove the bacon hock, cool and strip the meat from the bone.

Mash the remaining ingredients. This can take a while and you think the soup is going to be too thin, but it does thicken up.

Add the bacon hock meat and allow to warm through.

Serve with a little extra cooked bacon and either scones or fresh bread (gluten-free of course!)

The Soup Series – Albondigas (Mexican Meatball Soup)

This recipe was taught to me 20 years ago, is a huge favourite with my kids and with its lovely hearty flavours makes a great addition to the winter range of soups. The best thing about is because it has rice in it, you don’t need to serve a carb. It is absolutely no good for vegetarians!

For the broth:

  • 6 litres chicken stock
  • 100mls tomato puree
  • 1/2 capsicum, finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • a little chilli
  • 2 cloves or tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp ground coriander

In a large saucepan (heavy based if you have it) fry the onion and garlic in a little oil. Once softened, add the capsicum and fry for a little longer. Add the tomato paste, chilli and coriander and stir for a minute to two to allow the flavours to mingle. Add the chicken stock and bring to a rolling boil

For the meatballs:

  • 500g minced beef
  • 500g minced pork
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 capsicum, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves or tsp crushed garlic
  • 100ml tomato puree or salsa
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped mint
  • 1 cup uncooked rice

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Make into small balls and pile on to a plate. Moisten hands with cold water frequently to stop the mixture sticking and to help the meatballs bind.

Once the meatballs are complete, begin putting them into the saucepan. Keep the broth at a rolling boil as much as possible by adding a few meatballs at a time and then pausing. It is useful to ensure that all the meatballs are under the broth.

Allow to cook covered for about 20 minutes. You can tell they are cooked when the rice sticks out of the side of the balls.

Chop some fresh coriander and sprinkle through just before serving.

This also makes a very nice meatloaf. If you’re doing this, omit the rice and you may want to add some coriander and chilli to the meatball mix.

It’s winter, and winter means soup!

Rain beating against the windows and wind making the house shudder and shake. Children sopping wet from outdoor sports practices and games or just walking home from school. Curtains pulled tight against the early dark. It must be winter! And winter, in our house, means soup.

It’s been a lovely mild winter so far. We were in shorts and tee shirts the first weekend in June which is almost unheard of! But this last week or so, we’ve had cold snaps and now the weather has packed up completely. I love winter. I love the food. I love the weather. I love snuggling under the duvet when I get to bed and warm sleepy cuddles from the husband and whichever children can cram themselves into my bed. In winter, I can always get warm, whereas in summer, I am often overheated. I blame it on my Celtic heritage. As a first generation Kiwi, I am clearly better suited for a Northern Hemisphere winter than a Southern Hemisphere summer.

So soup! I feel the need to make a whole new category just for soup. There’s the Albondigas, a Mexican meatball soup, spicy, flavour full and hearty. There’s the husband’s Leek and Potato soup, a favourite once we worked out the ratio of leeks to potatoes. But I’ll content myself with posting today’s soup, Roasted Pumpkin and Bacon. The caveat I need to put with this recipe is that I don’t like pumpkin. I won’t eat it by itself and try to duck it wherever possible. The only two places I like it are in soup and in pumpkin pie. I should also note that I find it hard to give exact quantities for things when I have made up the recipe, but I’ll do my best!

Roasted Pumpkin and Bacon Soup

To make this you will need a large pot and a blender 🙂

For the stock:

Ingredients

  • 1 bacon hock
  • 1 onion peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 handful of herbs – I tend to use oregano, thyme, rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic or a couple of cloves of garlic
  • water to cover the bacon hock

Method

Combine all in the large pot and allow to simmer for 2-3 hours. Remove the hock from the stock and take all the meat off.  Keep the meat to add back into the soup later. Strain the stock through a sieve.

For the vegetables:

Ingredients

  • 1 pumpkin, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced lengthways
  • 2-3 parsnips, peeling and sliced lengthways
  • 2 onions, peeled and halved

Method

Place all vegetables on oven trays and roast until slightly browned. In batches together with some of the stock, blend until smooth.

Put back in saucepan and add a couple of teaspoons of caraway or cumin seeds, and the meat from the hock. Reheat until warm. Fry a little bacon and use this to garnish the soup with a little sour cream.

This is really nice served with fresh bread from the breadmaker. I often make the stock and roast the veges the night before, put a loaf of bread into the breadmaker in the morning before we go to school and work, timed to be ready later in the day. I then assemble the soup at dinner time et voila!