Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Recipe No. 1: Carrot Soup

My notoriously-picky family were initially highly suspicious of this vegetable-based concoction. But after much persuasion, I managed to get them to try it.
The verdict? 'Delicious and not too carrot-y' - whatever that means. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1tbsp oil (sunflower/ vegetable/ olive)
1 small/ medium brown onion
500g-ish of peeled carrots (start with about 1kg of carrots to achieve this end-weight)
1 medium white potato
1L stock (chicken or vegetable)
200ml orange juice

Optional extras:
Coriander
Soft cream cheese or creme fraiche to finish
Bread roll

Makes about 5 portions (6 at a push)

Method:
1) Peel and chop the carrots, aiming for a thickness of about 3mm because they'll cook faster. It's best to do this step first because it's not speedy
2) Heat the oil in a large pan (casserole dishes also great)
3) Meanwhile, chop the onion (doesn't have to be too fine because the end product is going to be pureed) and add to the oil. Fry gently for about 8 mins, until it softens
4) Whilst the onion is frying, if you are using stock cubes put the kettle on to boil. Peel and chop the potato into small-ish chunks. Make the stock
5) Add the carrots and potato chunks to the onion and heat for about 5 mins with stirring
6) Add the stock and juice and leave the pan on the heat until the liquid in the centre starts to bubble. If you are in a rush, then leave the pan on medium heat for about 15-20 mins - until the carrots are soft when you stick in a knife in them. If you have longer and used a casserole dish, you can put it in the oven on a low temperature (about 120-140 deg C) for 30-45 mins - make sure to check the liquid level occasionally.
7) Turn off the heat and let it cool for 10 mins (washing-up opportunity!) *
8) Dig the blender/ hand-held food processor/ other pureeing gadget out of the back of the cupboard and use it to puree the soup. This will probably have to be done in batches and can get a bit messy
9) Done!

* If you are using coriander, add it in step 7 before pureeing

Meal suggestion: great for lunches and re-heating at work. It freezes well too.
Add a bread roll for a more filling meal. To finish it off, I like to add a spoonful of soft cheese (or creme fraiche if I'm lucky enough to have any left in the fridge) - the colours look delicious too!

Budget:
Oil = 3p
Onion = 12p
Carrots = 80p/ kilo
Potato = 10p
Stock = 8p
Juice = 13p
Total = £1.26 for 5 people (25p/ person)
Total with cream cheese and nice bread roll = 50p/ person