Recipe: Old-Fashioned Vegetable Soup

When I was little my granny looked after me until I started nursery at four years old, and I still remember being around her every day. We would grow vegetables in the garden and pick them as needed and make lunch together, all the while granny was happy and singing and playing with me. She made everything fun and lighthearted and was such a joy to be around.

I miss her so. But through memories our dear ones live on.

She made a version of this soup quite often, and often boiling a piece of meat first to have on the side and using the broth for the soup. I don’t remember the taste of the meat very well, but the soup has stuck with me and a while ago I decided to recreate it with the vegetables I had on hand.

I started with softening some leeks, then adding carrots and potatoes, cubed small, and cooked until almost soft in homemade chicken stock. Then I added the kale and peas and adjusted the seasoning and removed the bay leaf. It’s probably the most classic vegetable soup there is, and each family have their own version. It’s similar to French pot au feu and the addition of pesto or pistou when serving would work really well. Or just eat it plain tasting each vegetable as it hits your tongue.

Old-fashioned vegetable soup, serves 2

1 tbsp butter or mild olive oil

1 leek, washed, but in half lengthways and then sliced quite thinly

2 medium carrots, peeled and cubed small

2 medium firm potatoes, such as Maris Piper, peeled and cubed small

750 ml -1 litre chicken stock, to cover

1 bay leaf

100 ml frozen petit pois

2 strands of kale, stalks removed and leafs torn into bite size pieces

salt and pepper

Add the butter or oil to a medium-large saucepan and sweat the leeks without browning, for a few minutes until soft. Add the cubed potatoes and carrots and fry for a minute or so in the oil. Add the stock to cover the vegetables generously. Add a bay leaf, put a lid on and bring to the boil. Lower the temperature to medium-low and put the lid half on. Let it cook for approx 10 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are cooked but still a bit firm. Add the kale and peas and cook for a minute or so. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

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