I don’t know about New Years Resolutions but I do like a fresh start which the beginning of the year offers. The only trouble is I tend to treat December as a month of anything goes, food wise anyway! It gets progressively worse as the month goes by, culminating in a week of total wickedness involving copious amounts of chocolate and other such evils, mainly of the festive variety. My theory…you have to get them gone before the “fresh start”!
So the “fresh start” has arrived and I am craving fruit and veggies. Our courgette plants began producing over the festive period and I have found myself with a couple of kilos, so I thought I would make a quick soup to cleanse body and soul, starting the New Year off on the right foot!
This is about as easy as it gets so even if you are feeling a little worse for wear, after the NY celebrations, you can probably still manage to throw it together. You start by dicing your onion, crushing your garlic and chopping your courgettes.
Toss them all together in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan or stockpot with a couple of tablespoons of a neutral oil. Stir to combine then top with a lid and leave to sweat over a gentle heat. You want the veggies to soften but not brown, so stir occasionally and and keep an eye on them, if they begin to brown, turn the heat down and add a splash of water. It should take about 15 minutes.
While you wait for the veggies to cook, you can prepare the croutons and the potatoes. Preheat the oven to 180’C/350’f. For the croutons you need stale bread. I really like to use sourdough, it goes kind of chewy and crispy. What ever you have lying around works. I don’t bother chopping off the crusts, they just add more crunch!
Pop them in a bowl with a tablespoon of chopped rosemary, a clove of garlic crushed, a tablespoon of olive oil and a good pinch of salt.
Using your hands mix it all together, coating the bread with the herbs and oil, before tipping the whole lot onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and crunchy. Once cool, you can transfer them to an air tight jar and they will keep for up to a month.
Now for the potatoes, simply peel and cube. 2.5cm/1″ cubes are about perfect but you don’t need to be too accurate, the soup is going to be blended but to ensure even cooking time, similar sized pieces work best.
After 15 minutes, the courgette and onion mixture should be ready to have the potatoes and stock added. Bring to the whole lot to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for a further 15-20 minutes.
It is ready when the potatoes are cooked through and the soup has thickened.
Allow the pot to cool slightly before blending. Serve hot, topped with a handful of croutons. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days but also freezes well.
Courgette soup with garlic and rosemary croutons
prep time: 15 minutes, cook time: 30-40 mins
serves: 6, cost per serve: $1.20
If you are growing your own courgettes or have a friend who has surplus this soup comes in at $0.60
- 2 tbsp rice bran oil (or other neutral oil)
- 5 medium courgettes (zucchini) – approx. 1kg/2lbs, chopped
- 2 onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 potatoes – approx. 500g/1lb, peeled and cubed
- 1 litre hot vegetable stock
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 3 cups stale sourdough or other good quality bread
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp rosemary chopped
- a good pinch of salt
- Place the oil, onion, garlic and courgette into a large heavy based saucepan or stockpot. Stir to combine then pop a lid on and sweat the veggies together over a low heat until softened but not browned, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180’C and slice the bread into 2-3cm/1″ cubes, toss together with the olive oil, rosemary, garlic and salt. Spread on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake for 15 minutes or until the croutons are golden brown, crispy but still a little chewy.
- Once the courgette and onion mixture has had time to soften, add in the potatoes and the stock and bring to the boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for a further 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the soup has started to thicken.
- Taste and add some salt if needed, I like to add quite a lot of freshly ground black pepper too.
Serve hot topped with your homemade croutons and more black pepper (if you like!). Oscar (my newly 4 year old) loves a bit of vintage cheddar grated over the top as well, while, Giddy (my ravenous 8 month old) likes it mixed with some cooked rice or quinoa to fill up his little tummy, which seems to be growing exponentially!
The soup will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and freezes well. I