Thickening soup with potato gives a velvety smooth result without adding the fat used in other traditional methods. Served either hot or chilled, this soup is ideal as a dinner-party starter all through the year. 
  • 1 litre (2 pints) vegetable stock, preferably home-made
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) carrots, finely diced
  • 100 g (4 oz) potato, peeled and finely diced
  • 100 g (4 oz) leeks, chopped
  • 2 strips of pared orange zest
  • 4 tbsp orange juice, or to taste
  • salt and pepper
To garnish

4 tbsp single cream; 2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley; 1 strip of pared orange zest, cut into fine shredsPreparation time: 15-20 minutes, plus cooling and 4 hours chilling if served cold. Cooking time: about 25 minutes

1 Pour the stock into a large saucepan and add the carrots, potato, leeks and orange zest. Bring to the boil over a high heat, skimming the surface as necessary, then reduce the heat to moderate and leave the soup to bubble for about 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are very tender.

2 Remove and discard the strips of orange zest. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth.

3 If serving the soup hot, return it to the rinsed-out saucepan. Reheat and add the orange juice, then adjust the seasoning. Ladle the soup into bowls and add a spoonful of cream to each, drizzling it over the surface. Sprinkle with the parsley and shredded orange zest and serve at once.

4 To serve the soup chilled, leave to cool, then chill for at least 4 hours. When ready to serve, stir in the orange juice, then adjust the seasoning. Garnish and serve as for the hot soup.

Plus points

  • Making soup is an excellent way of preserving all the water-soluble vitamins - the B group and vitamin C - which are otherwise lost when the cooking water from vegetables is discarded.
  • This low-fat soup is made with leeks instead of the usual onion. Leeks are a useful source of several water-soluble vitamins, including C and folate.
Each serving provides

kcal 100, protein 2 g, fat 4 g (of which saturated fat 2 g), carbohydrate 16 g (of which sugars 12 g), fibre 4 g

Some more ideas

  • To make a filling broccoli soup, replace the carrots with 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) broccoli florets. Sprinkle each serving with a little grated nutmeg and top with about 1 tbsp crumbled blue cheese, such as Stilton.
  • Make a green bean soup using this basic recipe. Replace the carrots with 450 g (1 lb) green beans, trimmed and chopped. Omit the orange zest and add 30 g (1 oz) finely chopped fennel. Depending on the choice of beans, this soup may need sieving to remove fibres after pureeing the mixture - this is particularly important if using runner beans. Serve sprinkled with finely chopped fresh fennel leaves (from the bulb) or dill.

Comments are closed.