I like to cook foods that are in season, but I also like to mimic nature’s colours if I can. When the leaves change to shades of gold and brown and start to drop from the trees, I yearn for ‘harvest’ foods in similar hues. These colours are abundant in squashes and pumpkins, carrots and peeled sweet potatoes. It’s simple to make a nourishing vegetable soup from any or all of these ingredients.
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
3 carrots, diced
1 medium size sweet potato, diced
1 medium potato, diced
Half a medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
About three good handfuls of soup mix (the ones that contain lentils, barley, beans and split peas)
1 tablespoon of tomato purée
1 litre of vegetable stock
Seasoning to taste
Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil (or butter if you prefer) in a large saucepan. Lightly fry the onion and celery in a little oil until soft. Add the other vegetables, toss with the onion and celery and leave to sweat over a low heat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beans and pulses and mix in well with the vegetables, then add the tomato purée and make sure everything is well coated. Finally add the vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you prefer), bring to the boil, season to taste, cover the pan and leave to simmer for about an hour until all the ingredients are cooked quite softly.
The ingredients and quantities can be varied and played around with. Any squash or pumpkin will work and leeks can be used too. Served with some chunky bread and cheese this soup is a main meal in itself.