Perfect soup for an autumn dinner
A cool Sydney evening and a desire to eat lots of healthy vegetables resulted in this relatively quick weeknight soup. I had Spanish flavours in mind so I added in some of my lovely bitter sweet smoked paprika (yes, I limited myself to just one type of paprika!). I started making it before I took the kids to their sax/clarinet lessons. Shivering outside the music teachers house, I pictured a bowl of my soup all lovely and steaming hot, filled with veggie goodness…..and with an occasional lovely bite of chewy chorizo. Hang on, what happened to the vegetarian soup idea?! I could not get rid of that image/imagined mouthfeel of the chorizo though, no matter how hard I tried. Ofcourse I didn’t have any chorizo in my fridge at home and I was definitely not stopping to buy some. So I finely diced some of the spicy salami I had, fried it until it was crisp and used it like croutons for my soup. The porcini mushrooms and paprika gave the soup a really deep earthy sort of taste which I really liked. Very nice indeed.
You will be pleased to hear that I used some of the dried chickpeas in my pantry, and some dried porcini from a ”surprise’ packet I found on a back shelf for this soup….slowly starting to make a dent in the pantry!
Spanish inspired soup
1 red onion diced
1 carrot sliced
1 cup of butternut pumpkin cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup of soaked chickpeas (a tin of chickpeas would be a very good substitute)
1/2 cup of porcini mushrooms soaked in water and diced (use the soaking water as well) – I used an overly generous quantity of these because I want to use them up, normally I would be more sparing in my use of these expensive little beasties!
1 cup of sliced button mushrooms
1 zucchini grated
1 cup of cauliflower cut into tiny florets
1 cup of baby spinach leaves
1 teaspoon of bitter sweet smoked paprika
3 cloves of finely minced garlic
3-4 sprigs of parsley
1 bay leaf
2-3 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of sage
5-6 basil leaves
optional: chorizo or spicy salami
Fry the onion, carrot and garlic in a little olive oil for five to ten minutes until soft and starting to slightly caramelise. If you want to be bold, fry the chorizo in the pan first, remove the crispy chorizo and use the remaining fat to fry the onion. Add the paprika, thyme, sage and bay leaf and fry for a further minute. Now add a few cups of water and allow it to come to a boil. Add the raw chickpeas and cook for about 20 minutes until the chickpeas are almost totally cooked/soft. If you are using a tin of chickpeas, skip the 20 minutes of cooking. Add the pumpkin and cook for a further ten minutes. Now add in the rest of the vegetables in the order in which they cook, saving the spinach to throw in just before serving. Add the stalks of the parsley with the vegetables as well and save some of the leaves for garnishing. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with your chorizo or salami “croutons” and the parsley.
We had some garlic bread (finely minced garlic mixed through some butter, spread on some bread and grilled for a few minutes) with big bowls of soup for our dinner.