There’s nothing quite like the smell of simmering soup wafting in from the kitchen. Nor the warmth of a thick, hearty soup on a winter’s night or the refreshing taste of a chilled soup when it’s hot outside.
Perfect as a starter, for lunch or for dinner (and even dessert), soup is perhaps one of the most versatile dishes around. And whether you opt to slow cook it over hours, or quickly toss it together, soups are also incredibly easy to prepare. Often, a single saucepan or bowl is all you need…
As winter approaches, it’s hard not to think of your old trusty hear-warmer or Granny’s chunky, vegetable soup. But don’t forget, your options for soups are limitless and there’s a lot of fun to be had with them – think laksas and wonton noodle soups, bisques and gumbos. And don’t forget the accompaniments, from the gruyere you add to your French onion or the dollop of crème fraiche or yoghurt added just before serving, they can transform a simple soup into a showstopper.
We’ve created a menu of soups for all occasions, from a spicy shot amuse-bouche to a traditional beef bouillon, and even that dessert we mentioned. It’s a sneak peak into the wonders of soup, just take a sip and see…
Amuse Bouche… Chilled Pawpaw Soup with Chilli and Parmesan Croute
Spice up your next dinner party with this unique starter. Smooth, slightly sweet pawpaw combines with a hint of chilli and lime for a flavour burst from the Caribbean. Who knew soup could be so sexy…
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, cut into small dice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground paprika
½ teaspoon chilli powder
¼ cup white wine
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock or water
2 cups pureed ripe pawpaw
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan heat the olive oil on medium. Add the onion and garlic. Cook on a low heat for 5-10 minutes till soft. Stir in the paprika and chilli powder, cook for 30 seconds. Add the wine, bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the stock/water and pawpaw. Cook for 5-7 minutes till warm. Set aside to cool and place in an airtight plastic container. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight to chill.
Before serving, season to taste with Tabasco sauce and salt and pepper. Serves 4
Entrée… Cauliflower Soup with Sage Burnt Butter
½ a cauliflower or 4 cups florets, cooked
1 medium potato, cooked
2 cups milk
½ cup cream
½ cup water
¼ teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter
8 sage leaves
Place 1/2 the cauliflower and potato in a food processor with 1/2 of the milk, cream and water. Process for 2-3 minutes till smooth. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Place the soup in a medium saucepan on low heat. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg and season. In a small pan melt the butter and cook till it is a brown foamy colour. Add the sage leaves and fry them till crispy, approx. 10-30 seconds. Remove from heat immediately. Serve the soup hot and drizzle with some burnt butter and a sage leaf.
Main… Rustic Beef Soup with Beans and Root Veggies
Filling, but not too heavy, this chunky beef soup is a perfect match for an Aussie winter. For something a little heartier, simply add more chunks of flavoursome vegetables and mixed beans.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1kg beef shin or osso bucco
2 French shallots, peeled
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
½ cup diced leeks, washed
½ cup diced celery, washed
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme, extra for garnish
3 cups beef stock
fresh parsley leaves for garnish
salt and pepper
2x420g tins butter beans or mix beans, drained and rinsed
Crusty bread to serve
In a medium size saucepan heat the olive oil on medium/high. Brown the pieces of beef in batches and set aside. Add the vegetables to the pot and cook till soft, 5-7 minutes. Return the beef to the pot. Stir in the herbs and stock and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour or till the meat falls off the bone.
Add more water if the soup is too thick. Add the beans just before serving and heat through, 2-3 minutes. Adjust the seasoning and sprinkle with some chopped parsley or picked fresh thyme leaves. Serve very hot with crusty bread.
Dessert… Mixed Berry Soup with Floating Island Meringue
Balancing between a frappe, fresh juice and stewed fruit, this unique dessert brings out a milder, more subtle sweetness in the berries. Paired with the lightness of meringue, it’s an otherworldly experience.
1 cup fresh or frozen mixed berries
4 tablespoons caster sugar
2 cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 egg whites
8 tablespoons icing sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 lemon juiced and zested
Fresh mint leaves and lemon zest for garnish
Place the berries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow the fruit to infuse for 5 minutes before taking it off the heat. Refrigerate or freeze the berry soup until just before serving. It must be served ice cold.
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt till soft peak stage. Slowly add the icing sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly. When all the sugar is combined, stir in the lemon juice and zest. Fill a small pot halfway with some water.
Bring to the boil then turn it down to a simmer. Scoop the meringue one tablespoon at a time into the water and poach for 20 seconds or till firm. Repeat till all the meringue is finished. Serve the berry soup in bowls topped with a meringue. Garnish with some fresh mint and lemon zest.
Recipes by Camilla van Beuningen
Words by Yasmin Newman
Photography by Stephen Ostrer