Seven ways to soup up autumn days
As the nights draw in, nothing says comfort food quite like a bowl of steaming broth, preferably accompanied by freshly baked bread. Try these hot recipes from our favourite cooks…
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, peeled, halved root to tip then finely sliced into half-moons 2 celery stalks, finely sliced
10 basil leaves
1 litre warm chicken or vegetable stock, or hot water
3 heaped tbsp tomato purée
1kg Swiss chard or spinach leaves (no stalks), roughly chopped
¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
6 small slices of thick crusty bread, toasted
1 garlic clove, peeled
Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a lid over a low heat. Add the onion, celery, basil and a splash of the warm stock or water, and cook for around 15 minutes, until the onions and celery become soft and translucent. Stir the tomato purée into the remaining stock and pour into the pan.
Add the chopped chard or spinach, chilli flakes and a teaspoon of salt. Stir through until the spinach wilts and the soup bubbles. Reduce the heat, loosely cover the pan and leave to cook for 30 to 40 minutes until the soup is well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning and chilli as necessary. Remove from the heat.
Ladle a 1cm layer of soup into the bottom of a wide saucepan or casserole. Rub the toast slices with the clove of garlic lightly on one side and lay them into the pan garlic side up. Spoon the remaining soup over the bread and crack the eggs on top. Cover with a lid and cook over a medium heat until the eggs have just set.
Remove from the heat and leave in a warm place for five to 10 minutes so that the bread can absorb the liquid from the soup.
Serve in warm bowls with an egg for everyone.
Recipe from Tuscany by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi (Hardie Grant, £26) 100g almonds, chopped Rye breadcrumbs (or other breadcrumbs)
1 bunch of watercress
Roughly chop the cauliflowers, potatoes and onion, then put in a large saucepan with the garlic, butter and half of the oil.
Gently heat until the vegetables start to sizzle, then pour in the water and add the bay leaves and some salt and pepper. Cover, bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves, add the cream and blitz until smooth. Reheat in the pan, adding more water if necessary to get the right consistency.
Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the breadcrumbs, capers and almonds. Sprinkle over the soup and top with watercress to serve.
Recipe from Scandinavian Comfort Food by Trine Hahnemann (Quadrille, £25)