Soup means comfort food. Soups are the kind of thing that you feel better, whether you’re eating or making it.
Why else do we love soup? They’re a great way to hero Imperfect Picks or any leftover bits of veg you’ve got in the fridge. They’re an easy way to sneak more pulses into your diet. They’re also a thrifty way to feed a horde. And they’re purpose-built for leftovers – many soups will even taste better the next day once the flavours have had a chance to settle.
Plus soups are incredibly adaptable. If you over reduce your soup, then you’ve got a sturdy puree to use as a base for sausages or felafel. Or else feel free to sub some soup in as a sauce in a pasta bake, or enchiladas. Or use a mug of one as an invitation to make legendary cheese toasties to have on the side.
The great thing about soups is how simple they can be.
How simple? Just think 1 or 2 veg + a pulse + stock + some flavourings, whether spices, herbs or extra boosts of umami like parmesan rinds, miso or porcini mushrooms. Then just make sure you taste it well and add salt and heat at the end, whether pepper or chilli, and a splash of acid, like citrus juice or apple cider vinegar to wake it up. Sorted.
You’re also spoiled for choice when it comes to pulses, particularly when it comes to the scoop-your-own section at Harris Farm. Small pulses like red and green lentils can be ready in as little as 25 minutes. You also don’t fret too much about needing to pre-soak your pulses. So long as you’re happy for the soup to potter on the stove for 1-2 hours, or spend some time in a slow cooker, you can get right on it. As long as you make sure you’ve cooked your pulses in enough liquid until they’re soft (at least a 1:3 ratio) you’re well on your way.
If you use smaller pulses like red or green lentils, they will break down to a velvet softness during cooking, meaning there’s no need to blend the soup. It’ll be perfectly sippable as is – or you can use a whisk to help break it down even further. (You might want to try using red lentils in a Turkish inspired red lentil and red pepper soup like the one below).
When it comes to larger pulses like black or white beans try taking half of the beans and the liquid they cooked in and blend them until smooth, before mixing it back in with the rest of the beans. (You might want to give them a go in the Mexican inspired chipotle black bean soup below. It really sings when topped with a little orange zest and fresh coriander. You can also try using it as an alternative to tomato salsa or sugo when baking enchiladas.)
For soups which border on stew-territory, you might want to try dipping into the Harris Farm ‘soup blend’ bin. It’s a ready-made party of lentils, beans and even pearl barley, which makes a hug-in-a-bowl dinner child’s play to craft. (You might want to try them in the Tuscan Bean Soup below, which thanks to the parmesan rinds which you lob into the stock, is even better the next day). And if you’ve got any pulses left over, know they’re great to use as pie weights, or in counting games with kids.
Soup’s up! So, what are you waiting for?