I recently came back from an over landing trip in Africa that took me a month. This had an impact on my cooking time and I decided to make up for it by creating a couple of dishes. Seeing that it is winter time and very cold in Cape Town currently, I decided to make 5 different soups.
A lot of my soups use mirepoix as a base which consists of two parts onions, one part celery and one part carrots. This mix I normally make in big quantities with the food processor and then freeze it in 500g or 1kg packets for later use.
Before I started of with the soups, I had to make sure that we start of the day with a decent breakfast. Since one of the soups would require smoked salmon, we decided to use some of the salmon for breakfast and ended up with something like this:-
Together with a mimosa, this brought us into the perfect mood for a long day of cooking that laid ahead of us.
- 500g dry red speckled beans laid over night in water (you can replace this with any other similar beans or red kidney beans. It is just a cheaper option)
- 2 x 410g canned red kidney beans
- 2 x 410g canned whole kernel corn (you can replace this with frozen corn)
- 2 x 410g canned tomato puree
- 500g mirepoix
- 1 whole garlic bulb cleaned, crushed and chopped
- 350g green pepper
- 16 small, hot bird’s eye chillies finely chopped (adjust this to the spiciness you prefer)
- 100ml roasted, crushed coriander seeds
- 25ml fine cumin powder
- 65ml brown sugar
- 75ml apple cider vinegar (you can replace this with red wine vinegar)
- 2.5 liter beef stock
- 3kg assorted stewing beef
- Freshly ground salt and black pepper
- Fresh coriander
Add water to a big pot and add the red speckled beans. Bring to boil and cook until the beans are soft. Strain the beans and put it aside.
Put the mirepoix with some oil in a big pot and fry over high heat for 10 minutes until the onions appear soft. Add the garlic, green pepper, chillies, coriander, cumin and meat and fry for another 15 minutes, stirring often. Add the stock and change to a low heat. Leave for at least an hour on the low heat stirring now and then.
Add the tomato puree, sugar and vinegar. Leave for another hour stirring now and then.
Add all the beans and corn and add salt and black pepper to taste. Leave for another half an hour.
Turn the heat off, let it settle for 15 minutes and serve with fresh coriander.
Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Soup
- 200g fresh asparagus
- 500g canned asparagus with brine
- 1 liter home made fish stock (if you replace this with fish stock from a satchel make sure it is not too overpowering – this is quite a delicate dish)
- 50g chopped onions
- 30g chopped celery
- 1 liter full cream milk
- 500ml fresh cream
- 900g fresh, smoked salmon pieces
- Black pepper
Cut the heads off the fresh asparagus and put it aside. Chop the rest of the asparagus into 2mm slices.
Put the stock, canned asparagus, onions and celery in a big pot and bring to boil. Remove from heat and liquidize the contents. Put the pot back on low heat.
Add the salmon (keep a little bit aside for garnish) and the chopped fresh asparagus and let it simmer for an hour. Remove 1/3 of the contents, liquidize it and put it back in the pot.
Add the milk and cream and let it simmer for half an hour. Add black pepper and salt to taste. Be careful with the salt as the smoked salmon is already very salty! Let it simmer for another half an hour, remove from heat, let it rest and serve with the asparagus heads and salmon you kept as garnish.
Biltong and Blue Cheese Soup
- 600g fatty, semi-wet biltong cut into 1mm slices
- 100g finely chopped onions
- 50g finely chopped celery
- 400ml beef stock
- 1.5 liter full cream milk
- 250ml fresh cream
- 100g blue cheese
- 25ml freshly ground black pepper corns
- 25ml fresh ground coarse salt
- 400g chopped brown mushrooms
- Fresh coriander for garnish
Separate the fatty and non-fatty pieces of biltong.
Fry the fatty pieces of biltong with the onions and celery in a big pot over high heat until the onions and biltong appear translucent.
Add the rest of the biltong (keep a couple of pieces for garnish), 200g of mushrooms as well as the stock and bring to boil. Remove the pot from the heat and roughly liquidize the contents. Make sure not to overdo it ! The pieces of biltong and mushrooms must still be easily identifiable.
Add the milk, cream, cheese, mushrooms (keep a couple of pieces for garnish), pepper and salt and let it simmer for an hour, stirring now and then.
Remove from heat, let it rest and serve with biltong, fresh coriander and mushrooms as garnish.
Chicken, Mushroom and Chorizo Soup
- 9 big chicken breasts
- 2.5 liter chicken stock
- 500g mirepoix
- 800g brown mushrooms
- 250ml red lentils
- 250ml fresh cream
- 200g chorizo (make sure you are using good quality chorizo. The better the quality of the chorizo, the less chorizo you have to use. The chorizo must have a salami like texture i.e. rigid and not soft and must have a deep reddish colour indicating lots of paprika)
- Chicken spice (enough to cover 9 chicken breasts)
Cover the chicken in oil and chicken spice and roast in the oven at 180 degree Celsius for 40 minutes. Let it cool and remove the meat from the bones, keeping the two separate.
Put the mirepoix, stock and the bones in a big pot and bring to boil. Let it cook for one hour. Remove the bones and add 400g of mushrooms and lentils. Cook for another hour over medium heat.
Remove the pot from the heat and liquidize the contents. Put the pot back on low heat and let it simmer. Add the chicken, chorizo (keep some as garnish), the rest of the mushrooms (keep a couple of pieces as garnish) and the cream and let it cook for another half an hour.
Remove from the heat and serve with chorizo and mushrooms as garnish.
Moroccan Lamb and Chick Pea Soup
- 1.2kg mirepoix
- 50ml roasted, ground coriander seeds
- 50ml fine cumin powder
- 4.5 liter home made lamb stock
- 25ml brown sugar
- 70g canned tomato paste
- 2 x 410g canned chickpeas
- 15ml smoked paprika
- 5ml lemon zest
- 5ml ginger powder
- 3 x cinnamon (cassia) sticks
- 10ml garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- 2.2kg lamb stewing meat
- Fresh mint
Put the mirepoix in a big pot and fry it with some oil over high heat for 10 minutes. Add the meat, coriander, cumin, paprika, zest, ginger and garlic and fry for another 15 minutes, stirring often.
Reduce the heat and add the stock and cinnamon. Let it simmer for at least 1 hour.
Add the tomato paste and sugar and let it simmer for another hour.
Add the chickpeas, salt and pepper to taste and simmer for another half an hour.
Remove from heat, let it rest and serve with fresh mint leaves.