Do you have that favourite recipe (or recipes) that has been passed down in your family or culture through the generations which you hold close & dear to your heart? If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know by now that I am slightly obsessed with soup. It’s like no matter where you are or how you’re feeling- soup will make you feel better. It’s warming, it fills you up and it’s so easy to make. I often get asked what my favourite thing to make is, and my heart always jumps straight to the same thing, Soup! It seems like such a simple thing for a ‘foodie’ to love so much, but I think that if you follow the soup secrets, you too will fall deeply and madly in love with soup.
What are these soup secrets? Simplicity, Seasonal & Fresh. That’s it. So next time you are trying to figure out what to make for dinner– take a look in your garden, your fridge or your local market– and see what looks fresh, bright and colourful! Chances are, you will be able to make a delicious soup concoction out of it. It’s just about keeping the flavours simple (aka don’t try to make it too complicated), the ingredients fresh and the key players to seasonal. Of course, allowing the proper time and preparation for cooking will always help!
Growing up, every summer our family would go to England to spend time with our extended family (growing up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia- we spent majority of our childhood living abroad and away from our family members in Europe). When I think back to those summer visits in England, I really do think that food is the highlight (& family, of course). These visits involved spending most of our time with grandparents; aka English chocolate and candy– and lots of delicious home-cooking. I would spend so much of my time (you guessed it) in the kitchen, helping my grandma and nana roll out pastry, chop onions, and stir the pot (while sneaking a few bites- here and there). Soups have a deep tradition in European cooking- an affordable, simple & delicious way to feed a large group of people on a small amount of ingredients that warms the body, fills the tummy and oh so satisfies those taste buds.
One soup in particular though, has never truly left my side. This soup is SO easy to make, honestly- it’s idiot proof (by any and all means). Although it is so simple, it’s really so delicious. And the great thing is that you can change it up each time depending on what you have and what you are craving. Technically this is a typical root vegetable soup. For me, though, it is the Rooted Heirloom Soup. Passed on through the ladies of the Francis family (from Grandmother, to mother, to me)– each time I smell it cooking in the house, I am filled with nostalgia of my Grandma’s house in Windsor, England. My emotional memory is sparked with warmth and joy as I am reminded of her ability to so effortlessly fill the house with fantastic smells of the most delicious foods you could ever imagine.
Spending time with my mum at the ranch these past few weeks- I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a few bowls of this soup. I even dreamt that I asked my mum to make it the other day, and woke up stunned because I could smell it. To my surprise, my messages from within my dream must’ve made it upstairs- and mother felt inspired to put a pot of Rooted Heirloom Soup on, just for me:) Ahhhhh, lovely.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 2-inch thumb of ginger
- sea salt + black pepper to taste
- 5 cups of organic vegetable stock or filtered water
- 1 sweet potato (skin on)
- 4 baby potatoes (skin on)
- 4 carrots (skin on)
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 parnships (skin off)
- 1 rutabaga (skin off)
- 2 turnips (skin on)
- Have your stove top on medium heat, start by sautéing your mirapoix (onion, leek, garlic, ginger, carrots, celery) with your olive oil.
- Based on what takes longest to cook (i.e., rutabaga is much harder and thus takes longer to cook than lets say parsnip), add your chopped root vegetables, continue to sautee.
- Once all of your vegetables are in the pot, cover with your filtered water or vegetable stock, stir and place the lid on the pot. Adjust your heat to medium-low. Allow to cook anywhere from 20-25 minutes.
- Depending on how you want your soup’s consistency to be, you can either use a hand masher to mash some of the vegetables (by now they should be quite soft)– to achieve variable shapes and textures in your soup. You can also use a hand blender to make it smooth.
- Season with fresh ground pepper & sea salt.
- Enjoy! Dress however you please: pea shoots or fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary)