SOUP-ER SIMPLE RECIPES FOR A QUICK WINTER WARMER
With January in full swing, the weather getting colder and bank balances a little on the low side, it can be pretty hard to stay positive and enjoy the beginning of the year. After slightly overindulging during the Christmas festivities, you might have decided that enough is enough and you’re ready to start being a little cleaner with your eating, to get you back to looking and feeling nourished and energised. TJ Hughes have started the year with some fantastic products in their kitchen and dining ranges that will help you in creating delicious recipes from scratch using a range of nutritious ingredients. If you’re looking for some culinary inspiration, then below are a few delicious, quick, and easy soup recipes that won’t only warm the cockles but be kind to your bank balance at the same time.
Butternut Squash and Chilli Soup
This sweet soup with a warming kick of chilli is both super healthy and low in calories. A bowlful at lunch will keep you more than satisfied until dinner!
- 1 whole butternut squash (peeled and cut into chunks)
- Dash of olive oil
- Tbsp butter
- 2 onions (diced)
- 1 clove garlic (thinly sliced)
- 2 mild red chillies (finely chopped)
- 850 ml vegetable stock
- 4 tbsp crème fraiche
Once you have cut your butternut squash up into chunks, toss them in olive oil and spread them out on a roasting tin. Pop into a 180° oven and leave them to roast. Soften the onions and garlic in a saucepan (with your tbsp of butter) and add the chilli. Pour over your hot vegetable stock and leave to simmer. Once the butternut squash is beginning to brown on the edges, remove from the oven and carefully tip into your simmering saucepan. Leave to simmer for around 5-10 minutes until all veg is soft. Remove your pan from the heat, and, using a stick blender begin to blitz together the ingredients. For a silkier finish, tip the vegetables and stock into a soup maker and blend until the texture is smooth.
Broccoli and Stilton Soup
This age-old favourite combines the fresh tastes of broccoli with the rich and creamy flavours of blue cheese and is the perfect dish for a comforting meal for one or even to impress guests as a dinner party starter. Here’s how:
- 2 tbsp oil (olive oil or rapeseed oil depending on preference)
- 1 finely chopped onion
- 1 stick celery and 1 stick leek (both sliced)
- 1 medium potato (diced)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1L of stock (chicken or vegetable, again, depending on preference)
- 1 whole broccoli roughly chopped
- 140g Stilton (or other blue cheese)
Heat the oil in your large saucepan and add the onion, celery and leek to soften. If the vegetables start to catch, add a splash of water. Add a generous tbsp of butter along with your diced potato and continue to stir. Allow the mixture to sweat for 5 minutes or so, covered with a lid. Pour your litre of stock over the reduced ingredients, along with your roughly chopped broccoli. NB. If you are using the entire broccoli then the stalk should be added a couple of minutes before the rest, to allow a little more time for it to soften. Cook the mixture over the heat for a further five minutes and then carefully transfer to a blender, ready to be blitzed. Once your mixture has been blended to a soup-like texture (this also depends on preference) you can begin to crumble in your blue cheese. A cheese grater can be used to help break it down into small crumb-like pieces to allow it to melt faster. Don’t forget to season with black pepper.
Winter Veg and Lentil Soup
Packed full of vitamin-filled vegetables and protein packed lentils, this hearty winter warmer is a no-brainer this January and costs next to nothing to make! It’s super easy and ready in just three simple steps. Here’s how:
- 85g dried lentils
- 2 diced carrots
- 3 sticks of celery sliced
- 2 sliced small leeks
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 3 large cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp vegetable powder
- Coriander (fresh or a heaped teaspoon of dried)
Put all food ingredients (including lentils) into an oil covered pan and begin to stir, ensuring everything has a decent coating of tomato puree. Add your coriander to season. Boil the kettle and pour over the bouillon vegetable powder until you have 1.5 litres of stock. Pour the stock into the pan and leave to simmer for 30 mins until the vegetables and lentils become tender. The soup can then be served straight away like this if you want a chunky dish, however, for less chunks and a thicker texture, you can blitz the ingredients in a blender.
Creamy Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup
Another soup classic, you really can’t beat the flavour combinations of chicken and sweetcorn in a soup that’s totally rich in flavour, full of protein and a real treat on a cold day. To recreate this classic for yourself, follow the recipe below!
- 1 glug of olive oil
- 1 celery stick
- 1 finely sliced leek
- 300ml of fairly concentrated chicken stock
- 250g of sweetcorn (fresh or frozen)
- 200g spinach (kale can also be used for this!)
And for the chicken…
- 3 chicken thigh fillets (thighs are best for flavour)
- 1 chicken breast
- 25g butter
- 250 ml milk
- 25g plain flour
- ½ finely chopped onion
NB – the chicken base of this recipe can be made and frozen. It can then be defrosted for whenever you want a super quick and easy chicken and sweetcorn soup.
- Non-stick frying pan
The best way to make this soup is in two stages, the chicken base and the stock; starting with the base is the easiest way to go about it because this can be frozen and used for another time.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour, cook for a few minutes until a paste is formed. Stir in the milk using your whisk or spatula until you have a smooth, lump-free texture – the best way to do this is by adding a little milk at a time. Bring to the boil until the mixture thickens. Turn down the heat and continue to stir for five minutes. Now to cook the chicken. Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the chicken. Next, add onion and brown it alongside the chicken. Tip the chicken and onion into your white sauce, which should be resting in your saucepan. Cook the mixture until the chicken is totally cooked through. Now for the stock – heat the oil in a separate saucepan and soften the celery and leek. Add 300ml stock and your pre-prepared chicken base and simmer. Towards the end of the cooking process, tip in your sweetcorn and leave the greens of your choice to wilt in the hot liquid. Once they have reduced down, your soup is ready to be served!
Purchase a blender to quickly and easily make the above recipes (or any other soups from scratch). We have a fantastic range at even better prices, so browse today!