The Most Flexible Soup Recipe Ever ~ because “Homemade Soup is No Place for Narrow Dogmatism”


Robert Farrar Capon, an Episcopal Minister, Professor of Dogmatic Theology and Exuberant Foodie writing in America in 1969 said 

Homemade soup is no place for narrow dogmatism. Do anything that comes into your head except over salt.  It is impossible to go wrong.

And …


This is a man after my own heart and these my thoughts exactly, only better expressed!  Soup is so easy to make, so delicious and so comforting.

I have a very simple, very flexible method of making soup  which can be varied to create an incredible variety of soups, from simple Leek and Potato to Caribbean Callaloo, Caldo Verde, Cullen Skink and even some soups that don’t begin with the letter C! In fact I have used this method over the years as a chef to make pretty well any soup I wanted to.

Simple Soup Recipe

The basic recipe makes enough for 4 as an appetizer or 2-3 as a “meal in a bowl”, depending on what you add and how hungry you all are.

30g/1oz butter OR 2 tablespoons of olive oil, to be healthier and still delicious
2 med/large floury potatoes such as King Edward or Maris Piper
*** see below for a new breed we’ve just discovered)
stock or water
salt and pepper

~   Peel the onions, halve them lengthways and thinly slice into half-moons.
~   Heat the butter or oil in a saucepan with a lid and toss and separate the sliced onions in the fat to coat.
~   Sprinkle with a little salt.
~   Press something appropriate (a piece of foil, a piece of baking parchment, greaseproof paper or a butter wrapper) directly onto the onions to cover completely. Try not to burn yourself on the side of the pan.
~   Turn the heat down to low and put the lid on the pot; the onions should not so much fry in the butter or oil as gently steam in it.
~   Cook slowly until the onions are soft enough to cut with the edge of a wooden spoon. You can stir once or twice during this time and they should take about 30 minutes.
~   When really tender peel and thinly slice the potatoes and add them together with enough stock or water to just cover them. You may need more liquid to finish the soup but it’s best not to use more than necessary at this stage; less splashy when mashing or puréeing.
~   Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover with the lid and cook till the potatoes are tender.
~   Taste and season till delicious.

Have a Look Inside!

Et voila (as they say in America), you have a very good, cockle-warming soup but there is so very much you can do with it, so very much more that I have written Soup (almost) the Only Recipe You'll Ever Need! giving not only 60+ recipes for soups based on this basic soup recipe but also all the information I can think of for using different fats, seasonings, herbs, spices, vegetables, cheeses, dairy and other additions so that it is easy to confidently create new soups.

As a taster here is a recipe straight from the book …

Roasted Garlic & Parmesan Soup

For a more intensely cheesy flavour, if  you have both time and the leftover rind of a piece of Parmesan cheese, simmer said rind in the stock you will be using for about an hour before making the soup.

Pin for later!
1 x basic recipe
1 whole head of roasted garlic – instructions in the book or see here for how to roast garlic
about 1 tablespoon olive oil
90g/3oz grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
150ml/5 fl oz double (heavy) cream

~   Make the basic soup.
~   When ready squeeze the soft roasted garlic from its skins into the soup and purée until smooth.
~   Return to the pan
and stir in the cream and Parmesan.
~   Bring to
a simmer, taste and adjust seasoning again.
Serve hot with croutons and more Parmesan.

In addition to soup recipes and useful soup making info I also include recipes for stocks, garnishes, some handy ancillary recipes and what to do with leftover soup including a rather surprising idea.  And remember ...

Sagitta Potatoes

Instead of buying a few potatoes every week we buy a sack every couple of months or so, it is far more economical that way.  We always have a choice of potatoes to buy and this time found a breed I have never heard of before; Sagitta. 

The lady in the shop said they were good all-rounders and up to now we have been very pleased indeed with them.  They make excellent mash, gorgeous jacket potatoes (the skin is slightly thicker than normal and we do like our skin – I rub it with salt and oil before baking which makes it extra good), sautéed potatoes were excellent and they worked very well in this soup recipe.  So, if you see them give them a go.


April J Harris said...

I so enjoyed this post! Your soup recipes sound fantastic, especially the Roasted Garlic and Parmesan in this post! Thank you for sharing with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop. Pinning and sharing :-)

Sue said...

Oooh .. you've just inspired my lunch .... soup it is to your exact recipe. Thank you, and thanks again it's always nice to hear of a new type of potato, and I've never heard of these.