Soup season is upon us. Here are a quartet of nourishing and warming recipes to see you through the cold nights.

As the nights draw inexorably in, it is increasingly comfort that we look for in our foods. Happily, this doesn’t have to come solely in the form of refined carbs (though these too, of course, have their place). Soups are healthy, easy to make in big quantities and thus super convenient, and can be hearty, filling and absolutely delicious. Plus, if you honed your sourdough skills during this tumultuous year, then all the better; there’s nothing nicer than the remnants of a bowl of warming soup scooped up on a crust of rustic bread.

These four seasonal recipes will be powering us through the ensuing months – whatever they may bring – and bring us sustenance and comfort all the while.

Photo credit: Jamie Oliver

Mary Berry’s Butternut Squash Soup


BBC Food


We’d trust Mary Berry with our lives, so reassuring a presence is she. The queen of GBBO is, it goes without saying, the oracle when it comes to baking, but we also love so many of her savoury recipes too. Butternut squash soup is, perhaps, our most constant lunch in the colder months; warming, hearty, filling and wholesome, it is especially good mopped up with a hunk of dark rye bread. This recipe adds carrots, red pepper, ginger and honey to deepen the flavours, pack a nutritional punch, and draw out the natural sweetness of the squash. Make a big batch and serve it for lunches on-the-go, or to a, no doubt delighted, crowd (when, one day that is permissible again) on bonfire night.


Celeriac And Quince Soup


Jamie Oliver


Celeriac is one of those hugely versatile yet curiously underrated vegetables. Anyone who has ever been on a low carb diet will doubtless have used it as a substitute for potato in mash, but it is, perhaps, its knobbly and unprepossessing appearance that has dimmed the humble veg’s popularity at the checkout. And yet, as we – and the brilliant Jamie – counsel: don’t overlook this rooty wonder. It is hearty, tasty and very adaptable. Here, the earthiness of the celeriac works wonderfully with the balancing sweetness of the quince. Meanwhile, walnuts to serve give the smooth purée texture an ideal offsetting crunch.


Pumpkin, Chilli and Coconut Soup


BBC Food


If you’ve been mainlining variants on squash or pumpkin soup for months already – and we’re right there with you on that score – you may be looking for a twist on the recipe to shake things up. For that reason, we adore the BBC Food’s tweaked version, which goes big on the warming mix of root ginger and chilli, but offsets both with the cooling and soothing coconut milk. The recipe also suggests sweet potato chunks to taste – a genius move, we say – and can be made using either squash or pumpkin. The inclusion of thyme is a lovely touch; we would also add that a squeeze of lime lifts this lovely recipe, too.


Beetroot Soup With Goats Cheese


Diana Henry


For an absolute showstopper of a soup, beetroot is our number one seasonal ingredient. If there exists a person on the planet who wouldn’t exclaim over a bowl of so vivid a shade of red, we’re yet to meet them. And yet beetroot can be tricky; its extremely earth sweetness – not to mention its easy propensity to stain, though that is another matter – can be somewhat off-putting, and certainly an acquired taste. But, as the genius that is Diana Henry knows, cooking is all about balance, both in flavour and texture. Here she does the job with admirable aplomb, advising throwing in a Bramley apple for some much-needed tartness. As she writes, ‘The slightly sour, farmyardy flavour of goat’s cheese is perfect against that sweetness and completely elevates an inexpensive soup (just look at the beauty of it for a start).’ It’s versatile too: you can serve it hot or cold, though in these autumnal days, we’ll always take ours hot. When dinner parties resume, this is a great one to remember for easy, make-ahead starters that will make a big impression.

By Nancy Alsop
October 2020

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Nancy Alsop

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