This is the perfect dish for when you open your fridge and see a whole load of veg that is too old to get excited about and still too good to throw away.
The principle is to create a savoury, wintry spicy base with the harder root vegetables and some good spices, then add a few more delicate veg on top with the stock, throwing in a can of beans or so for protein if you like.
Here is a sample of the principle with some typical ingredients:
- 2 onions
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 Carrots
- Half a celeriac
- A potato
- Cardamon, cinnamon, anise
- Harisa paste (a staple that no larder should be without, its a Moroccan spice paste)
- Tomato paste
- 2 strips of bacon or some anchovies, or some salami.
- A litre of stock (chicken, vegetable, beef, up to you)
- 2 Zucchini
- A quarter head of cauliflower
- A tin of kidney beans
- a lemon
Chop the onions are garlic and saute them for 5 minutes. While this is going on, chop the hard root vegetables (carrots, celeriac, potatoes) as finely as you can, and add them to the onions with the strips of bacon.
Stir for another 5 minutes, until you can see the vegetables soften slightly. The finer you chopped them, the shorter this phase is. Add the cardamon, cinnamon and anise at this stage to release aromas.
This is the important bit: add about a teaspoon of tomato paste, a half a teaspoon of harissa and salt and pepper to taste. Stir enthusiastically for another few minutes until the flavours have been evenly distributed.
Pour over the stock, and add the more delicate vegetables and canned beans. Boil for another 7 or 8 minutes, squeeze in a lemon if you have one and you're good to go.
The principle of this soup works as such: you develop a starchy, slighly sweet base with the root vegetables. This is the middle note of the flavour. Then you add a strong salty, sharp base note with the bacon/anchovies and the spices. The stock and other veg make up the top note, wich is a little more fresh and delicate.
Overall the ingredients combine to create an interesting, comforting soup that fills the house with a delicious smell, and empties your fridge of dodgy looking characters.