Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Stone Soup (or A Wholesome Veggie Broth)

My partner requested this for lunch the other day, before he took himself to bed with a cold. When your head is fuzzy and full of grossness, and you can't bear the thought of trying to swallow anything rougher than a pea, you need a good, warming bowl of soup. And what better than a wholesome broth, full of nourishing veg and hearty flavours? Remember the story of Stone Soup? It was one of my favourites when I was little, and this broth is exactly what I imagined the final outcome would have been.

                                                                                                                  (c) Becca Thorne 2014

This recipe is quick and super easy to make, there's no noisy blending to upset weary heads, and the addition of the toasted sesame oil really lifts the flavours and helps your poorly taste buds find something tasty to latch onto. It's also perfect for ladling into a Thermos or mug to warm your cockles while you stand around the bonfire waiting for the fireworks to start.

Serves 4

1 tbs butter
1 large leek, halved lengthways and cut into 1-2cm slices. Include as much of the green as possible.
1 large carrot, halved and quartered lengthways then diced
2 sticks celery, sliced
1 large onion, halved and finely sliced
2 bay leaves
A few sprigs of sage, finely sliced
2 tsp bouillon powder (or a mild veggie stock cube)
2 tsp mushroom ketchup (or other veggie Worcester-type sauce)
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp brown sugar
Boiling water

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add all the veg, plus the bay leaves and chopped sage. Allow to cook over a medium heat, stirring often, until the veg is starting to soften. Add the brown sugar and stir to coat, allow to continue cooking, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until the veg is fully softened but still holding together and the sugar has caramelised a little.

Add bouillon and enough water to cover the veg, stir and turn up the heat to med-high. Allow to simmer for around 10 minutes. Season with black pepper and stir through the mushroom ketchup and sesame oil.

Serve immediately with a good flavoursome bread like sourdough, walnut or olive.

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