Autumn Soup

There’s something about the flavours of this rich vegetable soup that really evokes autumn for me – the heartiness of the potato, the slight sweetness of the carrots, a smoky dash of Worcestershire sauce and the buttery taste of the dill, which seems not to get lost even through it’s beautifully delicate, all make me think of cold clear days, full of the smell of wet leaves.

2 onions
2 carrots
2 big potatoes
About 2 pints of vegetable stock
Worcestershire sauce
A handful of fresh dill
Olive oil
Salt and white pepper
Cheddar cheese, to serve

Makes about six servings (don’t forget you can always freeze it).

Soup is a really, really easy thing to make - the only thing you need to do is give it some time for the flavours to build up. If you’re on a budget and you feel like you should eat more veg, get yourself a cheap hand blender and start making soup for lunch each week. Check out my recipe page for plenty more soup ideas.

First of all, peel and dice your onion and get it sizzling in a large pan, in a mixture of butter and olive oil – I think it’s really important to use butter at the frying stage of soup, because it brings so much more flavour to the final dish. Peel the carrots and potatoes, then chop roughly and add them to the pan. Finely chop the dill, then sprinkle generously over the vegetables with a bit of salt and white pepper (again, I think this is an essential ingredient for soup – there’s a bit more fire in white pepper which I think makes it more exciting, but you can of course use black pepper, if that’s all you’ve got). Make sure everything is sizzling away in a lovely froth of golden melted butter – add a bit more if not. I reckon the high vegetable content means you can get away with being slightly free with the butter knife…

Boil the kettle and make up your vegetable stock, then pour enough into the pan to make sure the vegetables are all well-covered – you may not need all of it. Bring the soup to the boil, then turn the heat down and put the lid on, and leave it to bubble for at least half an hour, but longer if you can.

When you’re ready to serve up, take the pan off the heat and, using a hand blender, liquidise until you have a smooth, thick soup. Season well again (you’d be amazed how much seasoning a big pan of soup can absorb without it making any difference!) and add a generous sprinkling of Worcestershire sauce – as I’ve said before, this is a really great thing to have in the cupboard, just to add to pretty much any recipe which needs a little something. Stir well and have a taste, then add anything else that you think the soup needs.

Finally, serve up a big fragrant bowl topped with grated Cheddar, and bread and butter on the side – delicious.