Making a smooth soup starts the same way as making a chunky soup. You cook the vegetables gently in oil and/or butter for about 7-8 minutes, add some stock, bring everything to the boil and then simmer until the vegetables are soft. Then you either blitz the soup in a blender or use a hand-held blender to make it smooth. You can also add some milk or cream to make it extra creamy. Easy.
A couple of points to bear in mind though. While you can get away with a motley assortment of veg in a chunky soup with smooth soups you need to choose ingredients that are complementary in taste and and colour so you don’t end up with a sludgy brown soup that doesn’t taste of anything in particular. It’s also useful if one of the ingredients will thicken the soup - that could be potatoes, rice, beans or other pulses or even a tablespoon of plain flour which you should stir into the part-cooked veg before you add the stock.
Combinations that work well together are onions, tomatoes and red peppers, peas and broccoli, leeks and potato and watercress, onion and potato. Carrots and mushrooms are two veg that make good soup on their own with just a little onion and potato. Try the Carrot and Coriander soup, Easy, Spicy, Tomato soup and Hallowe’en ‘Pumpkin’ Soup (click on links below) which you can make at this time of year with in season butternut squash.
When you’re making soup in a liquidiser it helps to spoon in the veg from the pan in batches, adding just enough liquid to make them smooth, then add the remaining liquid. Pour a little stock or milk into the blender and whizz again to pick up the remaining bits of vegetable purée
If you’re serving a soup as a starter it’s worth adding some kind of decoration or garnish to break up the uniform colour and texture. A swirl of cream, a scattering of chopped parsley or chives or a few crispy croutons which you can make from slightly stale bread or pitta bread fried in a pan over a low heat or baked in a medium oven all work well.
Next: A classic cheese sauce