Vegetable and Bacon Soup

Good quality bacon bones

Starchy vegetables: 1-2 of each, depending on size – kumara, potato, pumpkin, parsnip, Swede, carrot, celeriac etc.

Other vegetables of choice: broccoli, cauliflower, leek, onion, mushrooms, courgette etc.

Chicken Stock, homemade if possible or try Essence stocks from the fridge at the supermarket

Garlic to taste

Chop the vegetables to bite size pieces and chop the garlic finely, or crush if preferred.

You can sauté the onion, garlic, carrot and celery in a little oil if you wish, but it is not essential. Add the bacon bones and the remaining vegetables and cover with stock and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 45 minutes to an hour. Cool. Remove the bones and when cold enough to handle, remove any meat from the bones and set aside.  Blend half the vegetables with some of the liquid to thicken, or all of it if you prefer a smooth soup. Add the bacon. Serve with croutons and a swirl of olive oil.

Variations: add lentils, beans, barley, pasta or rice and cut down on the starchy vegetables. You could use chicken stock and add leftover cooked chicken rather than the bacon bones or just use a vegetable stock for a vegetarian version. It is a good way to use up any vegetables lurking in the drawer in the fridge!

Hints:

Fresh ginger keeps well in a container in the freezer and you can grate as required, no peeling necessary.

If you don’t have a garden, herbs do well in pots and are best located close to the kitchen door so they can be picked easily, even on a winter’s night, and added to almost any dish.