Full of vitamins: vegetable and speck soup

 

I have been craving vegetables lately, and making a big pot of soup is the perfect way to get lots of vitamins and vegetables into your body. This soup is not a vegetarian version – as I have added speck ham (dry cured smoked ham – you can substitute a smoky bacon or ham hock), you can certainly omit the speck to make it vegetarian – you will just have to add a bit more salt to your taste.

This soup just feels like it is doing you so much good. Feel free to use whatever vegetables you have on hand – add turnips, potatoes, tomato, capsicum, beans, kale – anything goes.

Vegetable and speck soup

Ingredients
  • You will need a chunk of speck or bacon or ham hock is good too (or if making a vegetarian version you can omit this).
  • 2 carrots
  • 2-4 Beetroot (2 if small – 4 if large)
  • 3 Sticks of celery
  • 3 Small onions or 2 large ones
  • 1 Fennel
  • 3 Leeks
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 3-4 Cups of vegetable broth/stock
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Cup of cooked cannellini beans (or a 400g tin)
  • 4-6 Garlic cloves

How to make

Prepare your ingredients
  • Make your stock as per the instructions below.
  • Remove the skin from the speck (or the rind from the bacon) and save it for later – then dice up the speck.
  • Peel and slice the onions, chop the garlic.
  • Peel and dice the carrots and beetroot.
  • Slice the celery and leek.
  • Remove the tough outer leaves of the fennel and dice it.

Make your soup
  • Fry off your speck and onion, add the speck skin/rind too. Add the garlic. Fry it slowly until it begins to caramelise.
  • Add your diced vegetables and stir them into the onion and let them sweat for 5 minutes with the lid on – stirring occasionally.
  • Add your broth to cover the vegetables. Add the bay leaves too. Add salt to taste.
  • Let simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Serve – delicious. Just feel the goodness. And isn’t that pink colour from the beetroot pretty!

 

First though you will need to make some stock. You can use some of your frozen beef or chicken stock (that I am sure you keep handy) or you can easily and quickly and cheaply make up some vegetable stock.

To make vegetable stock:

  • Take all your vegetable peelings, carrot tops, celery tops, leek tops, an onion, soft last weeks vegetables and put them all in a pot – any left over vegetables, peelings etc will do). Chop the veg into a pretty small dice – no need to peel them, just scrub them first. add the peelings from the vegetables you are preparing for your soup too. Mushrooms are great in vegetable stock too.
  • Add a little butter to your stock pot and throw in your vegetables, stir them around and then pop on the lid and let the vegetables sweat for 5 minutes to release the flavours. Stir occasionally.
  • Add some fresh herbs (bay leaves, parsely etc – whatever you have handy), some pepper corns and even maybe some fennel seeds and top up with cold water. Bring to the boil and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Strain out the soft vegetables, make sure to squeeze out all the juices, then feed the soggy veg to your chooks if you have some or else compost them, and keep the stock to use in your soup. You can use it straight away or you can freeze it for later.
  • Its a great idea to make a pot of veg stock at least once a week with all your soggy veg. Keep a bag in your freezer or fridge where to throw in your wilted vegetables, the tops from leeks, peelings etc.  When your bag gets full – make a pot of stock and store in the fridge for a few days or freeze in batches. Here is another nice recipe to try out too.

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