Smoky Winter Root Soup

Smoky Winter Root Soup

A Winter’s Tale

I have been making this soup for years – since I was a student. I have made it so often that I stopped even thinking about needing a recipe for it, and now it is just easy and instinctive. I still make it a lot, because it is the Big Guy’s favourite now too.

I thought that originally it was a New Covent Garden Food Company recipe, but I have double checked both the books of theirs that I have, and it is not there. If this was your soup recipe initially, I am sorry that I am unable to credit you properly, but it is a much-loved and much-cooked dish.

As with all my soups, the amounts vary a lot, although I do tend to stick to only the ingredients listed for this particular one. I wrote the following out for a friend, after we had it on our weekend in the countryside. These amounts here should serve 4 people, or you can keep it in the fridge. It is even better warmed up the next day. It is a hearty and filling meal.

Recipe: Smoky Winter Root Soup

Ingredients

200g bacon, cubed. I can buy little lardons over here very easily. If you are using actual bacon, it is better to get streaky/ back bacon for this. Smoked bacon also works really well

1 onion, finely chopped

3 medium carrots, diced

500g potatoes, diced

1 green chilli, deseeded & finely chopped

1 can/jar sweetcorn

Splash of milk/ soy milk

Method

First prepare the vegetables. You want the onion pieces quite small and the chilli pieces as fine as you can get them. The carrot and the onion pieces should be about 2cm square.

Fry the bacon in a large saucepan over a low heat, so that the fat renders but does not burn. When the bacon is cooked, and slightly crisp, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, so that you keep the fat. Drain on kitchen paper, and set aside. The amount of fat from bacon will depend on the type and quality of bacon used. You want to fry off the vegetables in the fat, so pour off any excess, but keep enough to coat the vegetables.

Add all of the chopped vegetables, except the chilli to the pan, and fry until the onion has turned translucent. You will need to stir the pan occasionally. Meanwhile boil a kettle with about a litre of water. Once the onion has softened, but the vegetables have not coloured, add the chilli, and cook for a minute or so.

Add the boiling water to just cover the vegetables, bring back to the boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender. The amount of time this will take depends on the variety of potato used, and how big your dice are. For me, it usually takes about 10 minutes, because I chop the veg fairly small. Test with a knife, until you are happy. I don’t really mind if the carrots retain some crunch, so I only ever test the potato.

Once the vegetables are cooked, drain the tin of sweetcorn, and add the kernels to the soup, along with the cooked bacon. Season with pepper. You will not need to add salt, as the soup will get plenty of salt from the bacon, and the cheese. Allow to heat through for a few minutes. Add a little milk, and warm through.

You can make it with varying amounts of the ingredients, just make sure that the amount of carrots balances well with the white vegetables, so that it still has some colour.

Serve with crusty bread, and sprinkled with some grated, sharp cheese, such  as Mature Cheddar or Piquant Boerenkaas

The soup keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days. It will freeze, but if you want to freeze it, then don’t add the milk before you do so, rather, warm the soup through, then add the milk before serving.

I will add a photo of this soon, as we have it frequently, I just have not got one at the time of writing this post!

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