Spanish vegetable soup

Recipe by Neil Morris - 17 June 2012

vegetable-soup

Region: La Rioja

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45 mins

Oven temp: 200 °C (390 °F)

Difficulty: easy

Serves: 4

veg

I love this incredibly simple Spanish vegetable soup recipe that is based on the country-style stews and soup dishes that are common in the northern regions of Spain. This particular interpretation is inspired by a version from La Rioja and has a clean and modern look and flavour.

The mix of vegetables can be varied according to what is available or in season at the time but I find it works well with this particular combination. In such a simple dish it is vital to use the best quality ingredients; even the vegetable stock should be of the highest quality.

Do not be afraid to experiment with this type of dish; the addition of diced ham, chick peas, green beans, stale bread and almonds etc are all common in the many different stew and vegetable soup recipes in La Rioja, Navarra, The Basque Country and many other Spanish regions. Just use your own favourite ingredients and some imagination and you can easily create your own impressive dishes.

The garnish of basil and tarragon really gives it a flavour kick that balances perfectly with the fresh vegetables. For such a simple dish, the look and taste of this Spanish vegetable soup can really create a wow factor! It also happens to be incredibly healthy.

Shopping list

  • olive oil (aceite de oliva)
  • 1 large carrot (zanahoria)
  • 1 small swede (nabo sueco)
  • 2 white turnips (nabos)
  • 1 large potato (patata)
  • 12 radishes (rábanos)
  • 1 red onion (cebolla)
  • 2 garlic cloves (dientes de ajo)
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds (semillas de hinojo)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds (semillas de mostaza)
  • 6 black peppercorns (granos de pimienta negra)
  • 1 bay leaf (hoja de laurel)
  • best quality vegetable stock (caldo de veduras)
  • handful of basil leaves (hojas de albahaca)
  • handful of tarragon leaves (hojas de estragón)
  • salt (sal)
  • freshly ground black pepper (pimienta recién molida negro)
  • crusty bread (pan)

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200 °C (390 °F).

Peel the vegetables (including the onion) and then cut into slices about an inch or so thick and then cut into cylinder shapes using an apple corer (The radishes can just be cored straight through the side to leave the red skin on each end of the cylinder).

Put the discarded vegetable pieces into a large saucepan with the bay leaf, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, peppercorns and peeled garlic cloves. Then pour over 1.5 litres of vegetable stock and simmer for 15 minutes.

Put all the cylinders shapes into an oven-proof casserole, toss in olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper then set aside until the stock is ready.

Once the stock and vegetable pieces have simmered for 15 minutes, pass through a fine sieve, retain the liquid and discard everything else. Pour the liquid stock over the vegetables in the casserole dish, cover and cook in the middle of the oven for 30 mins or until the vegetables are tender.

Spoon the mixture into bowls and garnish with roughly torn basil and tarragon leaves, drizzle with olive oil and serve with warm crusty bread.

A healthy and heart-warming Spanish vegetable soup!

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