One of the lovely things about cooking at this time of year is all of the casseroles, roasts and stews that suddenly become very appealing – perfect comfort food when the weather becomes cold and grey. The additional perk of this is having lots of lovely vegetables that need using up afterwards – one of my favourite things to do with them is to make a comforting and delicious leftover vegetable soup.
This soup is my go to leftover vegetable soup, you can add and take out vegetables according to what you have, and what you love. The recipe below shows the basic ingredients that I would use, and an idea of quantities. This is the soup I make when I have a busy week, its cold and wet outside or I need an easy warm meal that will hug me.
You can really work with pretty much whatever you have to hand, add some shredded dark green savoy cabbage 10 minutes before the end, or sliced fine green beans. You can use up half tins of cannellini or black beans etc or those annoying not-quite-one-portion end of the bag of pasta. I also love this soup with pearl barley in it, I cook the barley separately, drain away the frothy water, rinse the barley then add it to the soup 5 minutes or so before it is ready to eat.
I have described in the recipe how I cut my vegetables, but this is a recipe where you can really do whatever you like – cut them all into chunky cubes if that is what you prefer, just don’t cut them too thinly or they will go to mush! The same applies to the ingredients, if you have only one carrot but lots of leek and potatoes then just go with it! Or if you have no potatoes, substitute in small pasta shapes, beans or barley. Its very much a ‘whatever I have in the cupboard and fridge’ recipe.
Do taste for seasoning once the soup is nearly cooked. I give the vegetables a good grind of black pepper just before I add the stock but don’t add salt at any point – you will probably find the stock adds a saltiness, especially if you are using cubes or stockpots. If you use a fresh or homemade stock, you may need to add a little salt at the end.
I love to serve my soup with buttered chunks of warm crusty bread and a good grating of strong cheddar cheese melting on the top.
- 15g Unsalted Butter
- 2 Sticks of Celery, sliced about 0.5cm thick
- 1 Clove of Garlic, finely chopped
- 2 - 3 Carrots, peeled and cut into thick discs
- 300g Waxy Potatoes, peeled, and cut into approximately 1 inch quarters
- 2 - 3 Small Leeks (Or 1-2 Large) Sliced into thick discs
- 2 Small Onions (Or 1 Large) Roughly chopped
- 2 Pints of Vegetable Stock
- Black Pepper
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Place a large saucepan, or deep flat bottomed frying pan on the hob.
- Melt the butter over a low-medium heat and add the onions.
- Sweat the onions for about 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, celery, leeks and a good grind of black pepper and cook for a further 3 - 4 minutes.
- Add the carrots, potatoes and bay leaf and stir well.
- Boil the kettle, and make up two pints of vegetable stock.
- Add the stock to the vegetables and keep on a low simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are cooked.
- Serve warm with buttered baguette and a little grated cheddar cheese on top.