Cold weather alert – this soup is like a warm smoothie

Frozen avocados? Why anxiously watch an under-ripe fruit as dinner time approaches?

Green soup with harissa cream and hazelnuts

Green soup with harissa cream and hazelnuts

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This soup is like a warm smoothie. It’s got everything you’ll need for a balanced meal in a smooth, warming soup. Whenever I make green juices I always add plenty of citrus to balance what can be an overwhelming green cruciferous flavour. Huge amounts of kale can be juiced and it will still taste amazing if you add a whole lemon to the juicer. Just make sure the lemon is organic and the skin is scrubbed before you juice it.

Broccoli is one of those vegetables that I know is incredibly healthy but this bold brassica just doesn’t work for me in a juice. The flavour is far too powerful and dominates the drink. I love it roasted with thin slices of lemon or just simmered in a pan of salted water till al dente. Just cooked broccoli with a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt is delicious.

For this dish I’ve kept the actual soup itself smooth and mild with just enough garlic and coriander, but the harissa cream provides the punchy swirls of flavour that ripple through the green. Spiked with lime juice and topped with crunchy hazelnuts, this is a really gorgeous soup for supper or lunch. 

This soup freezes really well so just cook up a batch and ladle into portion sized containers. Lately I’m discovering the value of frozen vegetables. I always buy vegetables at the market and looked for local and organic where possible but lately I’ve come to the realisation that any vegetables are better than no vegetables when I’m in a pinch. Do read the backs of the pack though, some pre-prepared frozen vegetables are coated in all sorts of seasonings and ingredients.

My freezer is packed with spinach, peppers, peas, corn on the cob and avocados. I’m amazed at how effective frozen avocados are. No more anxiously watching an under-ripe avocado as dinner time approaches or cutting one open only to discover it’s black inside. Guacamole can be yours in a few hours if you remember to defrost the avocado in time. Guacamole can also be made with more local produce if you’re trying to avoid avocados with air miles. Peas, broccoli or beans can all be whipped into a creamy dip along with plenty of lime juice and coriander to create a more homegrown guacamole.

Green soup with harissa cream and hazelnuts

Serves 6

Ingredients
2tbs butter
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
400g broccoli florets (1 large head of broccoli)
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
200g baby spinach leaves 
15g coriander, roughly chopped
200ml milk
Juice of ½ lime
Sea salt
2tbs harissa
60ml cream
2tbs finely chopped coriander 
Juice of ½ lime
2tbs roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Method

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. 

2. Add the onion and sweat for three minutes. Add the garlic and stir well. Turn the heat down a little and place the lid on. Leave the garlic and onion to cook for a few minutes till soft. Add the broccoli florets and stock. Add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to the boil then simmer till the broccoli is just done. Stir through the spinach leaves till wilted. Add the coriander, stalks and all. Blitz the soup till creamy and smooth. Add the juice of half a lime and stir in the milk. Taste for seasoning, add more salt if necessary.  

3. Mix the harissa, cream, coriander and lime juice in a small bowl. Add salt if necessary. Divide the soup between six bowls. Top with a swirl of harissa cream and sprinkle over the roasted hazelnuts. Serve right away.

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