It’s officially soup season! The nights are getting chiller and I’m finding myself craving steamy bowls of soup with toasted sourdough. We had soups a few times this week, but this one is notable mainly for the fact that I always thought broccoli soup would be a bit bland until I tried this recipe. It’s zingy and fresh with the mint leaves, but still comforting enough for an autumn night. This is another recipe from the amazing Veganomicon, but I un-veganized it by adding a poached egg (free range from the backyard chickens of course!) for some extra protein and ‘gooey-ness’.
The secret to good soup is good stock. There are a few good ones that you can buy, but I often find pre-made stock to be overly salty and not to my taste. I keep a plastic bag in the freezer full of ends of vegetables, onions, garlic, leeks, celery and anything else that is good in stock. I add to it whenever I cook, and then when I want vegetable stock I put the whole lot in the pot and cover with water, add some bay leaves and a few dried shiitake mushrooms and simmer for about half an hour until it’s ready to use.
Choose what you add to your stock bag carefully, as too much celery or any leafy greens will make it bitter. The best vegetables are carrots, pumpkin skins, onions, garlic, and leeks. I had a lot of carrots in this batch and it turned it a deep rich red colour.
Broccoli, Potato and Mint Soup
Adapted from Isa Chandra Moscowitz’s “Broccoli-Potato Soup with fresh herbs”
1 large head broccoli
3-4 medium potatoes
1 brown onion
4 cloves garlic
Vegetable stock (half a large pot)
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
Ground black pepper
Optional – serve with a poached egg
Saute chopped onions and garlic in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add diced potatoes, tarragon and a pinch of both salt and pepper. Stir through for a minute, and then add enough stock to cover the potatoes (see picture above). Once the soup is boiling, cover and lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Put a saucepan of water on to boil for the egg, adding a splash of vinegar as per my failsafe poaching strategy.
Check that the potatoes are almost cooked, and add the broccoli (including stems), chopped into small pieces. Add a ladleful of stock and continue simmering until broccoli is gently cooked. Turn the heat off while you poach the egg in the separate saucepan. You can blend the soup in a blender, but I prefer an immersion blender for a slightly chunky texture. Stir through the finely chopped mint and check for seasoning, adjusting if necessary.
Serve in a bowl topped with a poached egg and some fresh ground pepper. It would be equally delicious with toast, and a swirl of tahini or cream. What’s your favourite soup topping?