Finding the positive during these unfortunate events is the best thing that we can do for ourselves and our families. One positive thing we found is the amount of free time we all have now, of course, if we have the privilege of self-quarantine. People spend their free time on their hobbies, on doing yoga, on watching TV shows. But one of the most rewarding things that you can do now is cooking. And what better dish to cook than a healthy spring soup, right? Give your immune system a much-needed boost with these delicious soup recipes.
- Tomato soup
Image source - Taste of Home
Because tomatoes are rich in folate, which help lower your risk of infections.
- 1-1¼kg/2lb 4oz-2lb 12oz ripe tomatoes
- 1 medium onion
- 1 small carrot
- 1 celery stick
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 squirts of tomato purée (about 2 tsp)
- a good pinch of sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1.2 litres/ 2 pints hot vegetable stock (made with boiling water and 4 rounded tsp bouillon powder or 2 stock cubes)
- Firstly, you need 1-1.25kg/2lb 4oz-2lb 12oz ripe tomatoes. Cut each tomato into quarters and slice off any hard cores (they don't soften during cooking and you'd get hard bits in the soup at the end). Peel 1 medium onion and 1 small carrot and chop them into small pieces. Chop 1 celery stick roughly the same size.
- Spoon 2 tbsp olive oil into a large pan and heat it over low heat. Hold your hand over the pan until you can feel the heat rising from the oil, then tip in the onion, carrot and celery and mix them together with a wooden spoon. Still, with the heat low, cook the vegetables until they're soft and faintly coloured. This should take about 10 minutes and you should stir them two or three times so they cook evenly and don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Holding the tube over the pan, squirt in about 2 tsp of tomato purée, then stir it around so it turns the vegetable red. Shoot the tomatoes in off the chopping board, sprinkle in a good pinch of sugar and grind in a little black pepper. Tear 2 bay leaves into a few pieces and throw them into the pan. Stir to mix everything together, put the lid on the pan and let the tomatoes stew over low heat for 10 minutes until they shrink down in the pan and their juices flow nicely. From time to time, give the pan a good shake – this will keep everything well mixed.
- Slowly pour in the 1.2 litres/ 2 pints of hot stock (made with boiling water and 4 rounded tsp bouillon powder or 2 stock cubes), stirring at the same time to mix it with the vegetables. Turn up the heat as high as it will go and wait until everything is bubbling, then turn the heat down to low again and put the lid back on the pan. Cook gently for 25 minutes, stirring a couple of times. At the end of cooking the tomatoes will have broken down and be very slushy looking.
- Remove the pan from the heat, take the lid off and stand back for a few seconds or so while the steam escapes, then fish out the pieces of bay leaf and throw them away. Ladle the soup into your blender until it’s about three-quarters full, fit the lid on tightly and turn the machine on full. Blitz until the soup’s smooth (stop the machine and lift the lid to check after about 30 seconds), then pour the puréed soup into a large bowl. Repeat with the soup that’s left in the pan. (The soup may now be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost before reheating.)
- Pour the puréed soup back into the pan and reheat it over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until you can see bubbles breaking gently on the surface. Taste a spoonful and add a pinch or two of salt if you think the soup needs it, plus more pepper and sugar if you like. Ladle into bowls and serve.
- Curried squash, lentil & coconut soup
Image source - bbcgoodfood.com
Squash provides Vitamin C, which is crucial for a strong immune system.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large chicken breast, skin on
- 500ml chicken stock
- 1 slice sourdough bread, cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan
- 2 large handfuls spring greens, finely sliced
- 4 asparagus spears, trimmed, halved and cut into chunky pieces
- 40g fresh or frozen peas
- 400g can borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a pan, brown the chicken, then remove. Bring the stock to the boil in the same pan, add the chicken and cook for 5 mins. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and leave to stand for 30 mins.
- Put the bread cubes on a baking tray. Drizzle with the remaining oil, some salt and the Parmesan. Bake for 6 mins until crunchy and golden. Remove and scrape off the tray onto a plate.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and slice it. Bring the stock to the boil again and add the greens, asparagus and peas. Cook for 1 min, then add the beans and chicken. Heat everything through, then pour into bowls and top with the Parmesan toast to serve.
- Caramelised onion & barley soup with cheese croutons
Image source - bbcgoodfood.com
This soup is packed with vitamins, which will help your immune system stay strong.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 6 thyme sprigs, chopped
- good pinch sugar
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 60g barley
- 60g cavolo nero or kale, thick stalks discarded and leaves sliced
- 4 slices baguette, toasted
- 4 tbsp grated gruyère cheese
- Heat the oil in a saucepan, then add the onions, garlic, thyme, sugar and a good pinch of salt. Cook on medium-low heat for 15-20 mins or until golden coloured. Add the stock and simmer for a further 10 mins.
- In a separate large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the barley for 15 mins, adding the cavolo nero or kale for the final 3 mins of cooking. Drain and rinse under cold water, then add to the soup and warm through.
- Heat the grill. Top the toasted bread with cheese and place under the grill until it’s bubbly and melted. Serve in 2 large bowls with the cheesy croutons on top.
Here we have some of our greatest knives that will help you cook your healthy soups!