If I say soup what do you imagine? Steaming bowls of hearty broth with big hunks of seeded bread on a cold winter’s evening. Perhaps a flask of vegetable soup sipped in the middle of a long, blustery walk. Sitting on the sofa feeling rotten with flu slurping chicken soup. It definitely doesn’t conjure pictures of sunshine, Spring showers and new season vegetables. Which is weird because it’s a great way to use those first veggies which aren’t enough for a dish in themselves, to warm you up a little without being overwhelming and fill you without weighing you down with winter stodge. This one is doubly perfect because there’s no blending involved, which means minimal effort and minimal washing up, both ideal when you get in from a long afternoon of wine tasting. I in fact designed this soup with said wine tasting in mind. Not only does it involve minimal chopping for those whose vision has gone a little blurry, but has enough protein from the bacon to cure those protein cravings tasting 40 different wines tends to lead to, while the thin salty/savoury broth helps with the rehydration. Serve with a couple of slices of bread to help mop up the rest of the alcohol and this should be the ideal post-drinking Springtime meal. I say *should*, I still felt horrendous the next morning. Maybe next time I should take more notice of the spittoons…
Spring minestrone soup
Loosely adapted from Simply Recipes
1 red onion, diced
100g pancetta cubes
5 small charlotte potatoes, halved
1l chicken stock
1 teaspoon tomato puree
100g asparagus stems, chopped
100g fresh peas
2 tablespoons parmesan
1. In a large saucepan fry the onion and pancetta together, stirring often. The pancetta should release enough fat that the onion doesn’t stick. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the pancetta is cooked and the onion is soft.
2. Add the potatoes to the saucepan and pour in the chicken stock. Stir in the tomato puree and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and leave for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
3. After 30 minutes, add the asparagus stems and peas. Cook for another 2 minutes, check the seasoning and then serve immediately. Spoon the parmesan on top of the soup once served.