Thursday, 8 September 2011

Something from the Garden

I haven't been posting much on my kitchen blog recently spending most of my free time in Holly Grove's garden; then I saw that the No Croutons Required challenge for September hosted by Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen would allow me to combine both garden and kitchen.

Like most people who have the luxury of a kitchen garden or vegetable plot I've been growing a couple of courgette (zucchini) plants and have had the usual mammoth crop.  I've used much of the crop in ratatouille, vegetable curries, homemade preserved vegetable stock, and even muffins and chocolate cake.  I've also given some away to friends who don't grow their own veg and I've still got some left over!

So with the weather turning autumnal and the french and runner beans in full production too my thoughts turned to creating a soup with courgette as the main component.

runner beans and Purple Queen french beans
The result has been interesting and tasty, though not a very attractive colour I'll admit.  However it has used up more courgettes, giving us a few healthy lunches with some for the freezer for those evenings when I'm back at work and don't have the energy or enthusiasm to cook much and best of all, all of the ingredients (with the exception of the dried pulses) came from our garden.  It's been difficult to give absolute quantities of ingredients as it was more of a try it and see recipe, but here goes...

Courgette and Runner Bean Soup
1 large onion (peeled and diced)
2 garlic cloves (peeled and crushed)
4 large courgettes (washed and cut into chunks)
a good handful of french and runner beans (topped and tailed and cut into short lengths)
1 tsp ground cumin
75g broth mix (dried pulses including peas, pearl barley, lentils)
1.5 litres vegetable stock (made with either good quality stock cubes or 2 tsp homemade preserved stock)
2 or 3 tsp curry paste (I used Goan paste; similar to a Thai green curry paste but a little less spicy)

Add about 1 tablespoon of oil to a large stock pot then add the onion and garlic and cook gently until softened but not browned.  Now add the courgette, beans and cumin and mix thoroughly with the onion and garlic.  Cook gently for a couple of minutes.

Add the broth mix and the vegetable stock and curry paste.  Stir well and bring the soup to a gentle simmer.  Cook for between 1 and 2 hours to allow the dried pulses to cook through.

Remove from heat and blend with a stick blender. 
Serve the soup in bowls or large cups with some garlic ciabatta.

Note: If your runner beans are a it stringy I'd suggest passing the blended soup through a sieve to remove the stringy bit of the beans. Our beans were lovely and young so no need to sieve.

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