Winter Vegetable and Bacon soup

16 11 2010

With the weather getting colder and the nights drawing in sometimes I just want to eat something warm and filling.

This winter vegetable and bacon soup ticks both of these boxes and like all soups is cheap and easy to make.

If you make more than you need immediately you can portion it into ziplock bags and it will happily keep in the freezer until you need it.

You will need:

1 large potato

250g swede/turnip

1/2 tbsp thyme

bunch of parsley

4 carrots

4 parsnips

2 sticks of celery

2 leeks

2/3 bay leaves

1 large onion

2 cloves of garlic

200g pancetta

1/2 litre chicken or vegetable stock

salt and pepper to season

olive oil or butter

Chop the onions, garlic and celery and sweat with a little olive oil or butter for approximately 15 minutes until they have softened.

At this point add in the remainder of the vegetables having first peeled, cleaned and chopped them into manageable pieces, continue to cook for another 7-10 minutes

Now add in the chicken or vegetable stock along with the thyme, a good pinch of salt and pepper and the parsley which needs to just be roughly chopped and the bay leaves.

Turn down the heat and simmer for about 25-30 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and pour everything else into a food processor and blend until you have a nice smooth puree.

Pour the puree back into the pan and thin with a little more stock if it seems too thick, add more seasoning to taste and warm through.

Fry your pancetta until crisp and drain of any excess oil, add to the soup and serve immediately in warm bowls.

If you wish to make a vegetarian version omit the bacon and ensure that you use vegetable stock.

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Chicken and Chorizo Paella

29 03 2010

Last Saturday we had a Spring party, there were a bunch of people coming over and I didn’t want to be tied to the oven anymore than I had to be.

So I was wrecking my head trying to work out what I could cook that would be nice and easy on my time and yet seem sufficiently fancy…. and here it is:

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

Serves 4-6 people depending on levels of greed 🙂

5 or so chicken breasts or large thighs that have been de-boned

200g of good cooked chorizo

300g of paella rice (if you can’t get paella rice use Arborio)

1 stick of celery

1 1/2 large white onions, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic

2 tomatoes de-seeded and chopped

3 large red peppers

1 small red chilli, de-seeded and very finely chopped

a large handful of peas

1 large lemon

Chicken stock

Saffron

Smokey Paprika

Olive oil

Method

Heat the olive oil in a hot pan and add the chicken cut up into small cubes, add in 2 tsp of the smokey paprika and make sure that all of the chicken is well coated in it.

Once the chicken is brown on all sides put it in a low oven on a baking tray until you need it later on.

Add the saffron to your hot chicken stock and leave it to infuse

Turn the heat on the pan down to medium and put the chorizo in

Once the Chorizo has started to brown and go crisp you can add in the onions, garlic and celery and cook until the onions are just starting to soften.

Once the onions have softened you can add in the rice, the chopped red peppers, the chopped tomatoes, the chopped chili, half of the stock and 2 tsp of the paprika.

You now need to leave the dish on the heat for roughly 15- 20 minutes giving it all a stir every few minutes or so.

After this time the rice should just about be cooked, you can now add in the peas, the juice and zest of the lemon and the remainder of the stock, cook until most of the stock has been absorbed.

Once the stock has been absorbed you can add the chicken back into the dish and serve with lemon segments, a simple salad and some crusty bread








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