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Sad, Unloved Vegetable Soup

publication date: Oct 7, 2008
author/source: Fiona Beckett
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It’s round about this time in the week that you find sad, unloved vegetables lurking in the bottom of the fridge or the veg rack. Here’s what to do with them providing they’re not too far gone to be edible (i.e. not actually wizened, rotting or mouldy. This is more a strategy than a recipe. Here’s how it goes: (Makes enough for 4 helpings)

1. Dig out whatever veg you have. A good basic combination is onions and/or leeks, carrots, and potato. Celery is fine too (a couple of sticks). Courgettes and broccoli are less good for this kind of soup - chuck them in a bit later if you’re adding them otherwise they'll go a nasty sludgy green.

2. Remove any skanky bits, yellowing outer leaves etc. Leeks need washing thoroughly as they can have grit between the leaves so slice them finely and rinse, them. Peel the carrots and onions and chop or slice.

3. Find a big saucepan, put a couple of tablespoons of oil in it and some chopped streaky bacon if you have some and fry until it starts to crisp. Then tip in the onions and/or leeks and carrots, give them a stir, put a lid on the pan and cook over a low heat for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Peel and very finely slice the potato , if using, and stir into the other veg. (If you don’t have any potatoes you could add some canned beans at the end.

4. Make up 750ml of stock with a stock cube or 1 tbsp Marigold vegetable bouillon powder (I’d go for the latter, it has a much more natural flavour and is much less salty. You can find it in most supermarkets) and pour the hot stock over the vegetables. Bring the soup to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer (cook slowly, letting the soup bubble away gently) until the vegetables are tender (probably about 15 minutes) If you haven't used a potato drain and rinse a tin of cannelini or borlotti beans and add that.

5. Root around to see if you can find a handful of fresh parsley or some spinach or cabbage leaves. (If latter cut away the tough central rib on each leaf) Shred or chop them and add them to the soup and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. That's it although you could drizzle over a little olive oil or sprinkle over some parmesan if you want.

If you want actual quantities I’d suggest a large onion, a large leek, a couple of carrots and a potato


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