My friend Oliver tells me that when it comes to eating his vegetables, he can be “such a child” – he generally finds it way more palatable to hide vegetables in soups, pies and the like. And I am pretty sure he is not alone. In particular, a soup is a soup-er (groan…) way to eat your veggies. And one of the good things about making a soup is that once you’ve successfully made one, it’s really easy to freestyle, improvise and rustle up more soups of your own invention. If there are some vegetables nearing the end of their useful life in the fridge, a soup ensures they won’t go to waste.
When it comes to vegetables that even grown-ass adults find it a chore to eat, green vegetables top the list for many of us. Not everyone is a holier-than-thou vegetable muncher and that’s completely fine. For me, celery is the one vegetable that I find to be a total drag. Not even a generous slathering of cream cheese will make me eat celery. But a couple of weeks ago, I needed a stick of celery for a stew and all I could find in my haste at Asda was a £1 packet of five sticks. I knew I’d never munch my way through the leftover four sticks, so I turned them into a soup.
But it was a soup that brought creamy joy to celery consumption. When I set about creating this soup, I thought – as I often do – of Paris. The soups one can find in pretty much any cafe in Paris are usually divine. Creamy, rich, flavoursome, just the right amount of salt… And now, with the encouragement of Zac, a food-loving friend who shares tips with me from Oklahoma, I have finally gotten around to writing this one up for Munching Matilda.
With this soup recipe, you can mix it up with vegetables other than celery. Since I made this celery soup, I have adapted it to use up spinach leaves (another epic Asda purchase! The bag was like a big, green cushion!) – so in the recipe, I have included the Greek-style spinach and feta variation.
When I created this one, I threw in some leftover mushy peas after my husband inexplicably bought enough mushy peas to feed a family of six when he went to the chippie a couple of Fridays ago. If you don’t have any mushy peas on hand, 50g of cooked frozen peas will add an extra hit of flavour and greenery. And thanks to the brilliant Jack Monroe’s anti-poverty campaigning work, I now know that Asda is selling tins of mushy peas for just 15p.
This soup recipe also features some diced bacon fried in butter, but obviously this is entirely optional. It’s not the most waistline-friendly soup recipe even without the bacon – and not everyone eats meat or indeed pork – so feel free to either use a bacon alternative or omit it altogether. I used my own vegetable stock for this recipe. Click here to find out how I’ve become self-sufficient in stock – but it is perfectly fine to use store-bought stock.
While I was writing this up, I was asked about soups for slow cookers, so at the end of the recipe, there is some advice on cooking this in a slow cooker.