Last weekend I went to stay with my friend Angie at her house down the south coast in NSW. It’s a gorgeous place, sun-drenched beaches and lush thick forest. In the winter it’s typically cold in the way only Australian winters can be, no heat or insulation meaning you never truly get warm. Unless of course you eat many bowls of soup.
So we made soup. I may have been to culinary school, but I think the best kitchen tips come from cooking with other people. There’s no need to get too fancy, some things are best in their simplest form. I volunteered to chop the vegetables and requested a peeler. Angie said “we don’t have one, just wash them and put them in the pot”. I’ve always been a potato peeler, but I think I’ll stop now. Something about leaving the skins on these many roots made the soup richer and earthier than seemed possible.
This soup is perfect winter weeknight food. Once it’s on the stove it only takes about 30 minutes to cook, but it takes on the flavour of a dish cooked much longer.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 small or 1 large fennel bulb, finely chopped
- 2 small leeks, cleaned and chopped, whites and light greens only
- 2 salt-reduced vegetable stock cubes
- 2 parsnips, washed and cubed
- 2 carrots, washed and cubed
- 2 small yams, washed and cubed
- 1 swede, washed and cubed
- 1 potato, washed and cubed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the fennel and leeks and cook, stirring regularly, until the vegetables start to caramelise and brown slightly, about 10 minutes.
- Dissolve the stock cubes in a cup of boiling water.
- Add the vegetables. Pour in the stock and then enough water to cover by about 3 centimetres. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are soft. Season to taste.