When the weather turns grey and cold and all you want to do huddle under the covers, what could be more warming than a steaming bowl of comfort in the form of your favourite soup.
We’ve rounded up 5 winter favourites that are easy to prepare with everyday ingredients. Whether you’re craving comfort food or want to try something new, these staples will make dinner prep quick and fuss-free. Have some extra time? Pair your soup with this Baked Naan recipe, a simple Homemade Bread or my easy Kitke Rolls for a splendid finish to your soup dinner.
This a hearty dish especially now the weather is getting colder. The butternut gives an overall sweetness but you can add as much spice or as little as you prefer. I prefer a nice kick of chilli to contrast the sweetness of the veg.
1 kg cubed butternut
1 onion chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
2 fat cloves garlic crushed or put through a garlic press
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fine jeera
¼ to ½ tsp chilli powder
pinch of nutmeg
Saute butternut, onion and celery and garlic in some oil till soft. Add butternut and water to cover. Cook until butternut is soft. Take off heat. Use a stick blender to process further till smooth. Add milk and spices allow to simmer and adjust the spices to your liking. Add the cream and allow to just heat through. Don’t boil it once the cream is in. Save a little cream to add on top when serving for a little flourish.
Turkish Lentil Soup
I discovered Turkish Lentil Soup on the gram as a delicious vegetarian alternative to haleem for Ramadaan. Normally it’s made with red lentils but I used brown. I adore the warm flavours of the spices contrasting with the lemony freshness from lemon zest and earthy smoked paprika. 1 cup of lentils makes quite a lot and there was plenty left over for a second meal. And best of all it cooks within 30 minutes.
1 cup dried lentils red or brown (this recipe used brown)
1/2 onion chopped finely
1 large carrot finely chopped
1 tsp garlic paste or 2 cloves garlic crushed
2 Tb butter
2 Tb olive oil
1 Tb dried mint
1 Tb smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin (jeera)
1/2 tsp chilli powder
2 Tb tomato paste
1 medium sized tomato chopped and seeds removed
1 lemon zested
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups vegetable stock
6 cups water
1 tsp salt
Heat butter and olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Saute the onion and carrot till soft then add garlic and saute till fragrant. Add the spices and stir together in the oil till aromatic. Then add tomato paste, lemon zest and chopped tomato and allow to cook till tomato is soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add lentils and rice and stir everything together. Add salt and pepper, stock and water. Cook for about 30 minutes till everything is soft. Then use a stick blender to blend it down a bit further. I like it with quite a bit of texture.
Serve hot with bread rolls and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Tip: Leave out the butter and use only olive oil to make it completely vegan.
Roasted Tomato, Red Pepper and Basil Soup
When we were little my mum would occasionally make us Maggi packet soup as an easy dinner. Now I know that no self respecting foodie is meant to have soup out of a tin or a packet, and my mother was a foodie of note, but when you have 3 busy littlies to deal with sometimes a shortcut is well in order. Anyway, I really loved that Maggi packet soup, and was always excited when she chose to make it. And every now and then I will still have one today… no judgement please…
But then I came across a post by @RSRloves on Instagram, and her recipe for roasted tomato soup is so easy and so tasty that I may never have that packet soup again… unless for a bit of nostalgia. I put a little twist of my own by adding red peppers for extra depth. Here is my version of this delicious bowl of comfort.
2 large tomatoes quartered and a punnet of cherry tomatoes
1 Red pepper, deseeded and quartered
1 small-med red onion
salt and coursely ground black to taste
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp garlic or more depending on your preference
½ tsp crushed dried red chilli
½ tsp mixed dried herbs
1/4 cup olive oil
handful of basil leaves
2 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup fresh cream or double cream yoghurt
- Place all the veg in an overproof dish or roasting pan.
- Season with salt and pepper and add the garlic, balsamic and chilli
- Drizzle with olive oil and mix through.
- Roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes on 200 ˚C till tender.
- Remove the veg from the oven and transfer to a blender.
- Deglaze your roasting pan with a cup of boiling water and add to blender along with the stock.
- Blend until smooth. This can also be done with a stick blender in a pot.
- Decant to a pot to heat gently and stir in the cream or yoghurt. Do not let it heat too much after this.
- Serve with crunchy croutons or focaccia on the side.
Chicken and corn chowder
2 chicken breast fillets diced into small cubes
1 medium potato diced into small cubes
1 small onion
½ green pepper
½ red pepper
1 tsp red chilli flakes or 1 green chilli chopped finely
½ tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp whole cumin
2 tbsp oil
1 tin creamstyle sweetcorn
1 tin milk (refill the tin of sweetcorn with normal milk after you have added the sweetcorn to the pot)
handful chopped coriander
Heat oil on medium heat. Add mustard and heat till it just starts to pop. Then add cumin and sizzle. Add onion and chilli and cook till soft. Then add chicken and cook till done then add potato, salt and a little water to steam the potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes. Add sweetcorn and milk and allow to simmer and thicken on low to medium heat for about 20 to 30 minutes. The longer it cooks the creamier it gets. Add chopped coriander and serve with crisp rolls.
This list wouldn’t be complete without this Haleem recipe which is one of the first recipes I shared years ago and has become one of my most popular posts. Haleem is a popular Ramadaan dish. Put forward with fresh lemon to drizzle into your bowl as you break your fast, or with crispy fried onions and crushed green chillies. Today it has become quite easy to prepare it quickly from pre-mixes available in most Indian food stockists. I must admit to falling back to that convenience often enough. But nothing beats preparing it from scratch with fresh ingredients to really bring out the flavour.
500g chicken breast fillet
1 cup wheat
½ cup barley
¼ cup chana dhall
1¼ dessertspoon salt
1½ dessertspoon garlic/ginger
1½ dessertspoon dhana/jeero (gound coriander/cumin)
1½ dessertspoon chilli powder (you can use 1 dessertspoon chillie powder and ½ dessertspoon crushed chillies
½ dessertspoon turmeric powder.
1 large onion
- Soak the dhals overnight and cook till tender. Grind them till fine in a liquidiser or use a stick blender.
- Braise onion in 2 tblsp ghee with whole jeero (cumin), elachi (cardamom), tuj (cinnamon), cloves and 2 green chillies till golden brown.
- Add the meat coated in spices, braise till golden brown.
- Fill pot with water and cook meat till tender. Use a potato masher and mash it down to break it up further until coursely shredded or more chunky if you prefer.
- Add the ground dhalls. Fill the pot with boiling water and cook all together stirring continuously. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
- When done add vagaar (sliced onions, jeero, 2 dry red chillies fried in ghee)
- Add gharam masala.
- Add chopped fresh dhunya
- Serve with lemon
If you’d like to try the Instant Pot version of this recipe, you can find it here.