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NEWCASTLE KZN: Four soup recipes to comfort your winter blues

Warm up this winter with these four delicious soup recipes.

Winter is here and judging by current chilly conditions, it’s certainly going to be a cold one!

To help ward of the winter iciness, the Newcastle Advertiser has assembled four delicious ‘winter warmer’ soup recipes, guaranteed to make you feel better even on the coldest of days.

  1. Split pea soup with smoked pork:
Image sourced from NYT Cooking – The New York Times.

What you will need:
– 60g unsalted butter
– 3 medium onions, chopped
– 1 bunch leeks (including some green leaves), washed and sliced
– 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
– 1 bunch celery, washed and chopped
– 1 small bunch parsley, washed and chopped
– 750g dried split peas, rinsed or soaked
– 750g smoked pork
– 500ml chicken stock
– Nutmeg, to taste
– 4 bay leaves
– Freshly milled black pepper
– White pepper, to taste
– Zest and juice of half a lemon

Bring the split peas, along with the water, to a boil in a large pot. Simmer the peas for a few minutes, then remove from the heat, cover, and set aside for an hour. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Combine the vegetables, herbs (except the bay leaf), salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened (about 8 to 10 minutes). Add the vegetable mixture, smoked pork, and bay leaf to the pot of water and peas. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for at least two hours. The peas will start to break down and thicken the soup. Check for seasoning about 10 or 15 minutes before it’s done, and add more pepper to taste and salt if necessary. Take the bay leaf and pork out of the pot. Shred the meat with a fork and return it to the pot. Serve the soup with your favorite bread.

2. Pumpkin soup with blue cheese crumbs:

Image sourced from Olive Magazine.

What you will need:
– 100g butter
– 1 bunch of leeks, sliced
– 750g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
– 4 cups of vegetable stock
– 1 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
– 60g blue cheese
– 125ml reduced-fat cream or milk (optional)
– A pinch of ground nutmeg
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Sugar to taste
– 12 sage leaves

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Generously grease a baking tray. Heat a cooking vessel with half of the butter until it begins to foam, then add the leeks and cook until they are tender. Add the pumpkin and cook for 5 minutes, then cover and continue to cook on low heat for 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin is mushy. Meanwhile, blitz the breadcrumbs and blue cheese together in a food processor to make clumpy, moistened crumbs. Place the crumbs on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, swirling and shaking occasionally, until golden and crispy. Once the pumpkin is soft, puree the soup with a stick blender until smooth, adding the cream if needed. Season with nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. In a frying pan, melt the remaining butter till brown and bubbly, then add the sage leaves and cook until crispy and a brilliant green. Drain on paper towel to absorb any excess liquid. Serve the soup with blue cheese crumbs and crispy sage leaves on top.

3. Pumpkin, pear and bacon soup:

Image sourced from www.delicious.com.au.

What you will need:
– 80g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
– 1 onion, chopped 
– 150g bacon, chopped plus 4 extra thin slices
– 3 pears: 2 cored and chopped, 1 thinly sliced
– 1kg butternut, peeled and cut into 5cm cubes
– 4 cups of chicken broth
– 1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar (red wine vinegar can be substituted) 
– 1/2 bunch sage
– 2 tbsp maple syrup

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine half of the butter, onion, bacon, and chopped pear. Cook, stirring constantly, for 8 minutes, or until the onion is softened. Bring the pumpkin and stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 6 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender. Place the mixture in a blender in batches and whiz until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan, stir in the vinegar and keep warm on low heat. In the meantime, cook the extra bacon in a frypan over medium-high heat. Cook for 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Place in a bowl and set aside. Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the reserved pumpkin seeds and sage are golden. Transfer the seeds to a plate using a slotted spoon. Transfer the sage to a plate with tongs once it has darkened. To the pan, add maple syrup, sliced pear, and flaky salt. Cook the pear for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side, or until golden. To serve, divide the soup among bowls and top with bacon, pear, sage, and pumpkin seeds. To serve, drizzle with pear cooking juices.

4. Cauliflower cream of chicken soup:

Image sourced from https://cookieandkate.com

What you will need:
– 8 cups chicken stock
– 1kg cauliflower florets
– 1 cup heavy whipping cream
– 2 chicken breasts, skinless
– Micro coriander to serve

For the spicy cauliflower sprinkle:
– 2 tbs toasted cashews, finely chopped
– 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted
– 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
– 2 cauliflower florets, finely chopped

Bring stock to a boil in a saucepan with a lid over high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook, covered, for 10-12 minutes, or until soft. Transfer to a blender in batches and whiz until smooth. Add the cream and chicken to the soup base in a clean pot with a lid over medium heat. Cover and heat for 10 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and cut it into thick slices. Return the chicken to the soup and keep it heated until ready to serve over low heat. Meanwhile, pound coriander seeds until coarsely ground in a mortar and pestle for the spicy cauliflower sprinkling. Toss in the jalapeño, cauliflower, and cashews in a mixing bowl. To blend, stir everything together. Serve the soup in dishes with a spicy cauliflower sprinkle and micro coriander on top.

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Email: Reveshni Douglas (Editor) at reveshni@caxton.co.za

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