Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Simple but satisfying

I decided today that I felt like having soup for dinner. After tossing up various soup recipes, I chose seafood soup (p89) because it looked quick and easy.

First, I had to get a few ingredients. Popping into Pak N Save on my way home from work, I wondered at first why there were no trolleys available - until I realised it was "Whacky Wednesday". Oh no: there's something about these cheap shopping days that brings out the crazy in people.

The few items I needed were just enough to make carrying them burdensome, and as I negotiated my way around another customer's trolley blocking the self-service checkouts (studiously ignoring the woman who had pushed in line next to me and then proceeded to gripe at everyone in the vicinity) I fumbled my armful of vege, dropped a leek into the aforementioned trolley and sent a carrot rolling along the floor. Red-faced, I collected my scattered vegetables and got out of there as soon as possible.

This soup was a little different to most soups I've made, which are generally a one-pot sort of thing and take a few hours to cook. This time, I had the chicken stock heating in a saucepan with parsley, peppercorns and a bay leaf, while the leek, carrot and celery were gently softening in a frypan. The soup was supposed to have turnip in it as well, but I decided not to bother with it.

When the veges had just started to soften, I added chunks of monkfish - I actually used less than indicated in the recipe, but it seemed to work ok - poured over the stock and left the soup to simmer until the fish was cooked. It only took a few minutes (in fact, the whole soup took less than 20 minutes to make) before I was adding some seasoning and ladling out a bowlful.

Perhaps it wasn't the most spectacular soup I've ever eaten, but it made quite a pleasant meal. It was warming and filling - which is exactly what you want on an Autumn evening. I think I'd chop the leeks a bit more thoroughly next time: I just sliced them thinly, which resulted in a lot of stringy leek in the soup. Otherwise, I see it as a quick, easy meal that could well become a fallback for those days when I just want something simple aftr I've been to get the groceries. Plain, simple.. but not bad at all.

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