I simply love soup! Ever since I can remember, soup has always been such an important dish in our family and a strong part of our family history. As a young girl sitting at my grandmother’s dining table, I can still vividly remember her serving her famous and aromatic chicken soup during our Friday night dinners. My mother and aunt were great students and introduced all sorts of soups while I was growing up in and around Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Certain religious days, sad and happy, would be linked to special soups and still are today.
After I gave birth to our three children, I grew even fonder of soup. On the practical side, it’s nutritious, can be made in greater amounts, can be frozen and can be relatively inexpensive to make. But equally important - it’s comfort food. It nourishes the soul, cures colds, mends heartaches and enriches joyous get-togethers and High Holidays.
Leah has been so kind to invite me to share a couple of my recipes. These recipes are easy to make, family friendly and simply delicious. It would be great if I could inspire you to start cooking (or should I say ‘souping’?), and I welcome any questions or comments you might have.
This was the first soup recipe my mom gave me when I moved out of my parents’ home. It’s a great simple recipe and really helpful for people who are new to making soups. The funny thing is, even if you are not too fond of carrots, you will love this. This soup is also a very easy way to getting children to enjoy their veggies.
3 tbsp. butter or oil
1 white onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 Kg /2 lbs carrots, roughly chopped
2 tsp. clear honey
1.5 L / 6 cups vegetable stock
25g/ 1 oz of curly leaf parsley, chopped
black pepper, coarsely ground
1. Melt the butter on medium heat in your stockpot. Sauté the onions and when they are about done add the garlic. Once translucent, add the roughly chopped carrots and honey. Toss the ingredients until all carrots are covered with honey, onion and garlic and cook for 5 mins.
2. Pour in your stock and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes or until the carrots are very tender.
3. Turn off the heat and let the soup cool down for a few minutes. Then, purée the ingredients with a hand blender in the stockpot, or purée in batches in your blender.
4. Return the soup to a clean pan and season to taste with salt and coarsely ground pepper.
5. When ready to serve, bring back to a simmer and ladle into bowls. Add the fresh leaf parsley, it really complements the soup, and if you like a swirl of crème fraîche.
Turkish Red Lentil Soup/Mercimek Çorbasi
Growing up in a family where soup is such an important and well-loved dish can be pretty hard if you are a ten year old and not too fond of soup. My dear son, Duncan, often comes running into the kitchen asking me ‘What’s for dinner?’ Before I can answer him, he in general says ‘Again???’ So when he told me this soup was a winner and should definitely be in the top five, I was over the moon.
This version of Turkish lentil soup is home cooking at its best: healthy, hearty, easy and scrumptious. I prefer to use (organic) red split lentils as they cook quicker than regular lentils. This soup is perfect to serve as a main meal by adding a piece of Turkish pide bread and a salad.
2 tbsp. of olive oil
200g/1 cup of red split lentils, washed and drained
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large carrot, diced
1L /4 cups of vegetable stock
1 tsp. of ground cumin
1 tsp. of ground paprika
Salt & black pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges
2 tbsp. of tomato purée
Fresh mint for garnish
1. Heat the olive oil on medium heat in your stockpot. Sauté the onion and when they are about done, add the garlic, diced carrot, one teaspoon of ground cumin, one teaspoon of ground paprika and 2 tablespoons of tomato purée. Toss the ingredients until all ingredients are covered with the seasoning of each item and cook for another 5 minutes.
2. Add the washed and drained lentils, pour in your stock and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until the carrots and lentils are tender.
3. Turn off the heat and let the soup cool down for a few minutes. Place all but 3 cups of the soup into a blender or food processor and blend. Return the pureed soup to your pan and stir in the reserved cups of soup. Season to taste with salt and coarsely ground pepper.
4. Serve each bowl with a lemon wedge and garnish with fresh mint.
Creamy Tomato & Mascarpone Soup
Serves 4-5 people
This is my version of this ultimate classic: creamy tomato soup. Somehow this soup never bores, it is again very easy to prepare and utterly delicious. The mascarpone gives the soup the silky, velvety texture that makes it smooth and creamy. It is a bit richer, yet so satisfying -- a true comfort soup! I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as I do.
2 tbsp. of olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 red onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
500g/ 1 lb of Cherry Tomatoes, washed and cut into halves
1 can/400gr of chopped tomatoes
1tsp. of brown (cane) sugar
3 tbsp. of Mascarpone cheese
750mL/ 3 cups vegetable stock
Salt & pepper
Fresh basil leaves for garnish
1. Heat the olive oil on medium heat in your stockpot. Sauté the onion and when they are about done add the garlic. Once translucent, add the roughly chopped carrot, cherry tomatoes and the teaspoon of sugar. Toss the ingredients and add the can of chopped tomatoes. Stir gently and simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Pour in your stock and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the soup cool down for a few minutes. Then, purée the ingredients with a hand blender in the stockpot, or puree in batches in your blender.
3. Return the soup to a clean pan and stir in the mascarpone thoroughly. Reheat, but don’t boil, and season to taste with (sea) salt and coarsely ground pepper.
4. When ready to serve, ladle into bowls, garnish with a teaspoon of mascarpone, sprinkle with fresh basil and a turn of the pepper mill.