*Miranda Priestly Voice* - Soups for Autumn? Groundbreaking.
I know we're running with a bit of a cliche here, but I've been planning this post for months, and nothing says "turn of the season" like simmering something nourishing on a stovetop.
I love cooking up a giant pot of soup and saving portions to eat for lunch when I work from home (probably a bit better for than me than toast and a spoonful - or five - of Nutella). There's also nothing better than coming home, heating up a big pot of warm soup and dipping buttery bread in it. I like these soups because they are well-balanced and store so easily (they're meat free so you can feel comfortable zapping them in the microwave) I usually portion out a dinner's worth, a few lunches, and freeze the rest for when I need some emergency comfort food.
Now, I am a strong believer in the Potato. Making soup? Get a potato in there. I personally believe they are the most important part of making a good soup, so all these recipes are potato-based. They make them thick, wholesome and filling. These soup recipes are also vegetarian, and could easily be made vegan by switching to dairy alternatives. I love soups because they're the best way to use up all the random bendy vegetables floating around your fridge, with minimal effort, so the quantities you use in these soups is really not important. Just use what you have, top it up with water, and make sure you have enough stock in there, for flavour! Taste test as you go. Stir with a big wooden spoon and sample it straight from the pot. Wear an apron. Wholesome. That's the nature of soup.
Ok, so now we have that scene-setting done, we can skip past all the pre-recipe babble (like I KNOW you all do!) and get into that soupy, autumnal goodness.
1. Red Soup (Italian Vegetable Soup)
Christened as such by me as a toddler - it was the only way I could be persuaded to eat vegetables as a very picky child. My parents could hide all manner of horrifyingly healthy things in this - as long as it was red I was none the wiser. At the time I had it blended up, better to hide the dubious bits of mushroom and onion I would have snubbed as a kid, but now I prefer to make it chunky, with diced veg and a thin stock - perfect a bit of rustic bread-dipping. I make this with whatever I have around the house, but it almost always includes potato, tomatoes and lentils.
2. Broccoli Soup
Broccoli Soup was a concoction I developed (partly with the help of Pinterest!) after buying an enormous bag of frozen broccoli on a penny pinching whim and then realising that it is literally the devil (I thought it would be perfect for emergency fried rice but instead what we created was a truly offensive risotto) So, I did what anyone with 800g of surplus frozen broccoli would do, and banished it to a hot pan of water and boiled it into oblivion along with lashings of garlic, cream and cheese. This is hardly a healthful recipe but man is it good for a bit of autumn hibernating. You don't have to use frozen broccoli, (I didn't this time) but it is handy for dinner emergencies. Just don't try putting it in stir fry. Ever. Stir in a splash of cream and the cheese at the very end, off the heat, after blending with a stick blender.
3. Spicy Lentil Soup
This spicy lentil soup recipe was a relatively recent discovery, but I just can't argue with lentils and spice. The colour is basically liquid autumn and has a perfect amount of tongue-tingling to spice up the chillier months. I watched my first ever episode of Twin Peaks along with a mugful of this soup and a blanket and man did it feel appropriate amongst the Douglas Firs ;)
Just throw all the ingredients in a pot, simmer the absolute crap out of it, and blitz with a stick blender for instant cosiness. I'm tempted to try this with some big, homemade croutons and a sprinkle of cheese.
Enjoy! I hope this inspires you to go off and make a big bowl of the good stuff.