Six Sensational Seasonal Soup Recipes


Autumn has arrived here in Jersey and we have had some wonderful crisp, bright sunny days and cooler evenings. These are perfect for walking along the coastal paths and beautiful country lanes and building up an appetite. I love Autumn because there are some wonderful fruit and vegetables in season such as cooking apples for crumbles and pies. Savoy cabbages, the first Brussel sprouts and the first proper parsnips, which always seem sweeter after the first proper frost can be readily found in your green grocers. But the start of Autumn really heralds the arrival of pumpkins and squashes ready for Halloween. They are fantastic roasted with spices, pureed with lots of butter and make amazing soup one of my favourite Autumn dishes.

I love soups they are so varied, and such a tasty option and most recipes are quick and simple to make. If you are able to omit lots of cream and butter ( in my case that’s rather difficult ) soup can be extremely healthy. You can try substituting low fat crème fraiche for cream and olive oil for butter. I often find the best soups are made with what is easily available, a handful of vegetables, a tin of beans or some dried pulses and plenty of herbs. I always have celery, carrots and onions in the bottom of my fridge, a mix called mirepoix, which goes back to my earliest training. Mirepoix is a classic base for soups, stocks and sauces adding a depth of flavour.

Why not try some of these?

So to get your creative juices flowing here are some links to some of my favourite soups I have posted on the blog. There is my first ever recipe and still a firm favourite in lots of restaurants a rich, creamy seafood chowder with lots of Jersey mussels and smoked haddock for extra flavour. Another firm favourite with the customers in one of our busiest pubs is my take on classic French onion topped with delicious melted cheese, after all Jersey is only a few miles from the French coast. My version of possibly everyone’s favourite soup, roasted red pepper and tomato, is perfect for sipping out of a mug on a chilly Bonfire’s night. The great thing about soup is really doesn’t have to complicated just a few ingredients from your cupboard and your fridge like a tasty carrot and coriander.

A little History of Soup

Soup is not just great for lunch or supper it can be served as a starter for an elegant dinner party and I have the perfect recipe a cauliflower veloute, and you can find out all about how chef’s make and use veloutes in traditional kitchens. Finally if you like your soup with a bit more kick how about a Spanish recipe full of Chorizo sausage or the spicy Seafood Tom Yam. Whatever you like I hope you will find some inspiration and get cooking. Enjoy.

Here are some links to some of my delicious Soup Recipes.

Patatas Riojanas – Spanish Chorizo and Potato Soup

“Patatas Riojanas, is a very simple rustic soup or stew from La Rioja. La Rioja is a small region in the north of Spain, most famous for its high-quality wines, and it has some lovely indigenous dishes. No one is sure about the origins of Patatas Riojanas, but it would not have existed until at least the 19th century and the introduction of potatoes into Spain during the Napoleonic Wars.”

French Onion Soup
Classic French Onion Soup

My Classic French Onion Soup

“French Onion Soup probably had its origins in Roman cooking but became prominent amongst eighteenth-century French peasants, for which onions were one of the staple dietary components. The addition or use of stock to French Onion Soup came later, as did the cheese croute ( a kind of crispy cheese on toast ).”

 

Cauliflower Veloute
Creamy Cauliflower Veloute

Cauliflower Veloute with Cauliflower Pakora and Curry Oil

“If you want something a little more elegant this recipe is a sophisticated soup ideal for a dinner party and perhaps as the starter for your Christmas Dinner. This rich, silky smooth cauliflower soup is an ideal partner to the spicy flavours of the pakora’s and curry oil. A veloute is a traditional soup made with a stock thickened with a roux, this recipe also contains potato for extra body.”

 

 

Tom yum Soup
Spicy Seafood Tom yam Soup

Spicy Seafood Tam yam Soup

“I like spicy food, not hair-raising hot curries and the like, but I enjoy a nice kick and I love the layers of different flavours you can build. One of my favourite chilli-based dishes is Tom yam, a hot and sour Thai soup flavoured with fragrant spices and aromatics; a good chicken stock flavoured with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal, which is now popular around the world.”

 

Classic Seafood Chowder

Classic Seafood Chowder with Smoked Haddock and Jersey Mussels

“As there is no single definitive recipe my chowder recipe is a purely personal and uses some of my favourite and best produce available to anyone cooking in Jersey alongside a couple of unorthodox ingredients. If you are not so fortunate as myself living with wonderful seafood almost washing up on my doorstep, quality natural smoked haddock, freshly cooked prawns and some plump tasty mussels from a reputable fishmonger will make an excellent chowder.”

Tasty Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

“This is a really easy, comforting recipe that freezes exceeding well so could be made in advance, it is a fantastic thick, full of sweet, smoky flavours and great served in a mug as you stand to watch the fireworks. Passed through a sieve it can be dressed up as a lovely lunchtime treat or simple supper dish. So, for the perfect fifth of November feast make sure you have some crisp-skinned jacket potatoes freshly baked in the oven, a plate full of toffee apples for the children and a big, big pan of this delicious soup.”

A pan of Seafood Paella

How to make the best Paella de marisco

Like many recipes, the following for an authentic paella de marisco, may at first glance seem pretty daunting, please just keep in mind it is basically rice. I love rice and it is very easy to cook if you follow some simple rules. The principle behind making a good paella de marisco is very simple one, much like a risotto, you want to drive as many of the flavours from the stock and other ingredients into the rice, but unlike a risotto, you do not stir during the entire duration of cooking. There is a myriad of varieties of paella and a huge number of ingredients that go into different regional recipes, some call for chicken, rabbit or snails.  This is my recipe is for a great, authentic paella de marisco or seafood paella, packed with tasty mussels and prawns and with a rich, full flavour from the garlic, Chorizo and smoked paprika.

A pan of Seafood Paella
A large Seafood Paella

It is really important when making your paella de marisco to use the right rice, many Spanish people use a short grain variety called Bahia, grown in South & South-eastern Spain. It requires around two times its own volume in cooking liquor. For that extra special paella, there is a variety of rice called Bomba – this is a slow growing rice that absorbs three times its own volume when cooked without falling apart. As paella is primarily about the flavours of the stock being absorbed into the rice this is a particularly excellent variety, although it can be quite expensive. About a 100g of rice per person Bomba or standard paella rice will give a good main-course size portion, which means 1Kg of rice will make about a 10 person paella

Your paella pan, the name paella is a Catalan derivative of an old French word for pan, should be a sturdy and made of polished steel, to care for it follow the technique in my early post for looking after your wok or any cast iron pan. The reason there are so many different sizes of paella pan is that it is important not to create a paella that is too deep. Your final paella needs to be a “dry” rice and having the dish too full will not allow any excess cooking liquor to evaporate out once cooked. As a basic rule of thumb, a paella should not be deeper than the rivets for the handles on the paella pans. Traditionally paella is cooked over an open fire as you may have seen in Spanish fiestas or festivals. The way to achieve an authentic paella is to allow me to introduce Sofrito and Socorat.

The Sofrito and the Socorat

The Sofrito and the Socorat are not characters or events in Don Quixote. They are the key to you making an outstanding classic paella de marisco . The sofrito is a fried tomato paste, do not worry if you don’t like tomato – you will never know it’s there. It adds a rich sweet note to the finished paella. The socorat is perhaps the most highly prized part of a paella. It is the dark caramalised rice that sticks to the bottom of the pan.

Paella de marisco or Seafood paella
Paella de marisco


Seafood Paella – serves 4 to 6 

200 gr Monkfish Fillet

150 gr Squid

125 gr good quality Smoked Chorizo Sausage, very finely diced

12 Prawns, the bigger the better, peeled and de-veined

4 King Prawns or Gambas , as big or bigger than the prawns

500 gr approximately Mussels, washed and scrubbed

Sweet Paprika (Pimentón Dulce)

100 gr cooked Butter Beans

2 Red Peppers, thinly sliced

Saffron

Paella Rice, one cupful per person

Chicken or Fish Stock approximately twice as much as the rice

1 large Spanish onion, peeled and very finely chopped

4 cloves of Garlic, peeled and very finely chopped

1 small tin of chopped Tomatoes

Peas (as many as you like)

A glass of good dry White Wine

Good quality Olive Oil

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

Freshly chopped Parsley

A large 6 person Paella pan

In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan place the diced chorizo sausage and generously cover with olive oil, heat until the oil just starts to bubble then turn down to lowest setting and keep on the lowest possible simmer for thirty minutes. Be careful not to have the sausage on a high heat and burn the chorizo, the aim is to slowly confit the meat in the oil to release the delicious flavours. Remove from heat and cool, then store in airtight container in the fridge. This can be made up to a week ahead of time. This braised chorizo is great gently re-heated in stews, casseroles, with chicken, as a garnish to monkfish, sea bass and oysters. As with many recipes, some people are probably shaking their heads at the addition of chorizo ( They don’t do that in Spain you know ) to a seafood paella but once you smell the heavily flavoured oil sizzling in your pan I think you will be convinced.

Score and cut the squid into cubes about two centimetres each and then slice the monkfish fillet into finger thick escallops. Heat a generous serving spoon of the flavoured chorizo oil in the paella pan, when the oil is smoking add the prawns and crayfish, sauté for a minute or two then remove and put to one side. Next, put the squid in the pan and fry until light golden brown. Remove and add to the prawns.

For the sofrito

In a little further oil gently sauté the onion for five minutes without colouring. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes. Turn up the heat and cook the tomatoes with the onion until it reduced into a very thick dark red paste. Stir continuously to prevent the sofrito from sticking and burning, but reduce it right down.
Add the garlic, saffron, and paprika and stir everything around before adding the rice. Pour in the fish stock, wine, pepper slices, around a ½ teaspoon of salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper and bring it up to the boil and simmer. After ten minutes of cooking add the butter beans, peas, prawns, the crayfish and the mussels. Cook for an extra five minutes until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Occasionally gently shake the pan to prevent the large ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pan, DO NOT STIR.

For the socorat

Turn up the heat to full for no more than a minute or so. You will hear the rice start to “pop”. After a short time, “popping” (thirty seconds or so) turn off the heat completely. Interestingly this is how popped rice cereals made without the fish flavouring!

Resting is important for the final flavours to develop and the rice to finish cooking. If you want to decorate your paella with extra pre-cooked prawns and mussels on the half shell, then this is a good time to add them so they can warm through. Cover with a double layer of foil and leave it to rest for ten minutes. Serve with lemon wedges and parsley straight from the pan.

Allergens in this recipe are;

Celery    Raw Fish Milk Oyster Crab

Please see the Allergens Page

Baked Portobello Mushroom and Chorizo

Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Chorizo and Egg

After the excesses of Christmas, I quite often want something with plenty of flavour but that is perhaps not too substantial and relatively simple to create. It can be very easy with lunches out with family and friends between Christmas and the New Year celebrations to easily be over faced with just too much food. In my case that is quite difficult but never the less still possible, so here is a recipe for Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Chorizo and Egg that is very tasty and quite light and very easy to make.

Baked Portobello Mushroom and Chorizo
Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Chorizo

In this recipe for Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Chorizo and Egg, I use braised Chorizo, which is a staple in our kitchen at home great for flavouring stews, soups and casseroles. If you cannot get Portobello mushrooms, open-cap field mushrooms area perfect substitute.     

Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Chorizo and Egg             serves 4

4 Portobello Mushrooms, peeled and stems removed

150 gr braised Chorizo, drained, plus reserved oil

2 large handfuls of Baby Spinach, washed and dried ( optional )

4 fresh free-range Eggs

A sprig or two of fresh Thyme

Fine Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4 and line a baking tray with foil. Place the mushrooms, gills side up, on the baking sheet, drizzle with a little braised Chorizo oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for ten minutes. While the mushrooms are cooking, heat a little more Chorizo oil in a frying pan, over medium heat, and quickly toss in the baby spinach, season and remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

Remove the mushrooms from the oven and divide the spinach between them. Top with the braised Chorizo and sprinkle with fresh Thyme leaves. Place back in the oven for ten more minutes before removing once more and cracking an egg into each. Place back in the oven and bake for a final ten minutes. Remove and serve with a little lightly dressed herb salad.

Allergens in this recipe are;

  Flour     Eggs

Please see the Allergens Page

Saute Squid with Chorizo and Harissa

Warning: This is a Knock your Socks off Dish

Squid with Chorizo and Harissa
Saute Squid with Chorizo Sausage and Harissa

Imagine a full assault on your taste buds, a big, bad, bruising combination of squid, Chorizo, garlic, chilli, salt, and spice. The big secret is cooking your squid perfectly and in this recipe, it is almost the last ingredient tossed in a very hot wok and sautéed for just a couple of minutes. Your Harissa paste will handily keep for a couple of weeks in an airtight container in your refrigerator and the braised Chorizo likewise. The best thing about this recipe is the great flavour is so easy to achieve and so simple and quick to cook if you use ready prepared Harissa and Chorizo.

I developed my taste for Harissa in Tunisia, searching out Roman ruins and sampling fantastic, fresh and tasty food some fifteen years ago. Harissa is undoubtedly hot with chilli but is also rich with the flavours of coriander, cumin, and garlic. It is now available commercially in tins or jars but this pales beside the freshly made product which is quick and simple to make. It can be stirred into stews and tagines, used as a thin crust on baked fish or added to couscous for a really easy taste boost.

My Harrisa

6 to 8 Serrano Chilli Peppers

1 large bunch of fresh Coriander

1 large handful of fresh Mint Leaves

2 bulbs of Garlic, peeled

2 tablespoons Coriander Seeds

2 tablespoons Cumin Seeds

1 tablespoon Caraway Seeds

1 tablespoon of Smoked Paprika

1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon

Zest and juice of 2 large Lemons

100 ml quality Olive Oil

½ teaspoon Sea Salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

In a large, heavy bottomed sauté pan heat and gently toast the whole spices to help release the essential aromatic oils and flavourings. Cool for a few minutes. Place the spices, chilli, and garlic into a food processor and blend. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to form a rough paste. Store in a sterilised glass jar covered with a thin film of extra olive oil and sealed with a tight-fitting lid.

Sauté Squid with Chorizo and Harissa serves 4

You can buy fresh or frozen prepared squid from your local supermarket or fishmonger, the squid is cleaned and the quill is removed. You can use tinned sweet red pimento peppers for your convenience. Do not season the dish as the olives and Chorizo are sufficiently salty.

3 to 4 prepared Squid ( ask your Fishmonger ), cut in half centimetre slices

250 gr waxy Baby Potatoes, washed and par-boiled then sliced

75 gr braised Chorizo and a little of the flavoured oil

75 gr roasted Sweet Red Pepper, sliced

50 gr good quality Black Olives

2 heaped tablespoons of Harissa paste

A small handful of freshly chopped Coriander

Freshly squeezed juice of half a Lemon

Mixed Salad Leaves

Heat the braised Chorizo oil in a wok and sauté the sliced potatoes for around five minutes until golden brown. Add the squid and fry for one minute stirring all the time. Add the peppers, olives, and Chorizo and fry for another minute. Then add the Harissa paste and cook out for one further minute. Stir in the lemon juice and coriander and divide on to four bowls of salad leaves.

Wine

What to Drink? This dish pairs well with younger medium bodied wines with plenty of acidity try Rioja, Pinotage, and unoaked Shiraz wines that stand up well to the flavour of the Chorizo and the Harissa. Over-oaked and high alcohol wines can actually make the chilli heat seem worse. Alternatively, try a malty Pale Ale like Fullers ESB if you prefer beer.

Allergens in this recipe are;

Celery  Oyster   Milk  in the Chorizo.

Please see the Allergens Page

Patatas Riojanas – A rather Special Spanish Chorizo and Potato Soup

The weather forecast for this week is not good, not good at all, we look to have some real stormy, autumnal weather heading for the islands so perhaps it is time to start thinking of some hearty, warming recipes, comfort food like a nice chunky soup. Now personally I am not a big fan of soup, if I get out to eat, I go for the fish or seafood starter and save soup for when my mum makes her thick tomato and bacon version for a big Sunday lunch. But increasing when I am working and not at home with my family, soup is a one-pot wonder. Soup is tasty, nutritious, extremely good value for money, easy to make and you can use lots of store cupboard staple ingredients and most of the odd bits in the fridge.

Chorizo and Potato Soup
Patatas Riojanas Soup

Now I had some potatoes, onions, and Chorizo in my fridge, so in my mind, I was thinking something simple with perhaps a Spanish taste, the potatoes soaking up the flavour of the Chorizo. I looked up a recipe and came across Patatas Riojanas, a very simple rustic soup or stew from La Rioja. La Rioja is a small region in the north of Spain, most famous for its high-quality wines, and it has some lovely indigenous dishes. No one is sure about the origins of Patatas Riojanas, but it would not have existed until at least the 19th century and the introduction of potatoes into Spain during the Napoleonic Wars.

Spanish Soup Ingredients

There is a story that Chef Paul Bocuse tasted this casserole in a well-known winery, and after three more plates told everybody Riojan style potatoes were the best food he had ever eaten. The world-famous chef also recommended this meal to be the national dish of Spain. I have added a few carrots and some celery to my recipe to make more of a stew than a soup and have to say the result was absolutely delicious and very satisfying.

Patatas Riojanas Soup

750 gr Waxy Potatoes

2 large Onions, peeled and finely sliced

2 large Carrots, peeled and cut in chunks

3 large sticks of Celery, thoroughly washed and sliced

2 Red Peppers, grilled, skin and seeds removed

250 gr fresh Chorizo Sausage, cut into one-centimetre dice

50 ml good quality extra virgin Olive Oil

600 ml good quality Chicken Stock

A large glass ( 250 ml ) good Spanish White Wine preferably white Rioja

3 large cloves of Garlic, peeled and crushed

1 heaped tablespoon of Plain Flour

1 heaped tablespoon sweet Spanish Paprika

½ teaspoon fresh Thyme Leaves

1 Bay Leaf

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

Freshly chopped Parsley to garnish

Pour the olive oil into a large, heavy bottom pan and gently sauté the Chorizo, sliced onion, carrots and celery for about ten to fifteen minutes until the onions are soft and translucent, then add garlic slices and potato and cook for five more minutes stirring constantly. Add the flour and cook out for two more minutes keeping stirring. Pour in the stock and white wine into the onion and chorizo mixture and add all the remaining ingredients and stir. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer on low until potatoes are cooked. Be sure to check the level of the cooking liquid adding a little water if needed. When the potatoes are well cooked and start just to break up correct the seasoning, add the parsley, stir and serve.

Wine

What to Drink? This soup pairs well with Rioja, Pinotage, and unoaked Shiraz wines stand up well to the flavour of the Chorizo. Over-oaked wines can actually make the chilli heat seem worse. Alternatively, try a malty, Pale Ale if you prefer beer.

Allergens in this recipe are;

Celery

Flour

Milk
in the Chorizo. Sulphites in the Wine.
Please see the Allergens Page

Gazpacho

Trying to enjoy the not so sunny Jersey summer and dodging the thunderstorms I can at least celebrate some of the delicious produce available on the island, fragrant, ripe Jersey tomatoes and a host of salads, fruits, and vegetables. This simple version of classic chilled tomato soup is ideal as an appetizer or as a light lunch. Gazpacho is very popular across the Iberian peninsula and is believed to have developed from either a Moorish or Roman origins. It varies across Spain and Portugal from thick purées, almost the consistency of a dip, through to fiery peppery water with the addition of a selection of diced vegetables.

Gazpacho
A blended Gazpacho

I once had a disagreement with my then Executive Chef. Not a good move for your career to argue with an Executive Chef, on the authentic Gazpacho texture, rough or smooth, thick or thin. He was, of course, right because quite simply he was Chef and I was right because I am an annoying, know it all ( there I said it before anyone else ). Eventually, we came to an unusual and diplomatic compromise in a kitchen, especially between two opinionated individuals, we were both right. We did however totally agree on its early preparation to allow the flavours to fully develop and most importantly to ensure sufficient time in the refrigerator to completely chill. Quite a few years later, after a lot more research, as I tried to find out if I was right, I saw just how many varied recipes and what is a highly individual approach there is to making Gazpacho, there is no cookery book classic or definitive method. The texture and ingredients are different, region by region, family to family, person to person.

Chilled Spanish Tomato Soup
A Gazpacho amuse-bouche

Traditionally made in a pestle and mortar to keep it cool, the result is rustic, less than the smooth finish achieved in many modern recipes using a food processor. You may add green bell peppers which I omit on a purely personal basis ( I just don’t like them ), whilst stale bread soaked in a little water thickens and adds a silky texture. As a lunchtime dish, bowls of ham, egg, and almonds are served alongside the soup. I guess the key is to experiment and find your own personal preference. I have often used Gazpacho as a little amuse-bouche  ( see photo ) to get my customers taste buds tingling and this recipe is ideal. Modern Gazpacho variations can be made with cucumbers, avocados, and watermelons for different colours, flavours, and textures.

Gazpacho

serves a good 12 shots or 4 individual portions

1kg really Ripe ( Jersey ) Tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 small bunch of Spring Onions, washed, trimmed and roughly chopped

3 cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped

1 Cucumber, peeled

2 roasted Sweet Red Peppers, peeled and de-seeded

A good pinch of Cayenne Pepper

75ml good quality Olive Oil

3 tablespoons Sherry Vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Celery Salt

Cracked Black Pepper to taste

To finish your choice of:

Finely diced Red and Green Pepper, Grated Egg, Air dried Ham, toasted Almonds, Pimento, extra virgin Olive Oil.

Put the chopped tomatoes, spring onions, garlic, cucumber, Cayenne, and celery salt in a blender and blitz until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve a couple of times to remove most of the pulped skin and seeds. Put the mix back in the blender and slowly add the olive oil and sherry vinegar and season well to taste. Chill thoroughly in the fridge. Serve as an appetiser or as a light lunch with a selection of toppings to spoon over your soup in the center of the table.

Wine

 

What to Drink? Serve your Gazpacho with a chilled Amontillado or Manzanilla over ice, a Picpoul de Pinet or the toasted, nutty flavour of a classic English Brown Ale.

 

Allergens in this recipe are;

Celery   Eggs   nuts

Please see the Allergens Page