Tuesday, 7 December 2010

A penny for your thoughts

This is a great soup to make when you have left over vegetables in your fridge as it really doesn't matter which root vegetables you use. The results are always rich and creamy as long as you don't use to much of one flavour. The thrifty nature of it makes a fantastic choice an end of the week meal in these <big voice> austere times.

I took the inspiration (and name) for this soup from The Soup Book edited by Sophie Grigson. It's a lovely collection of familiar and new recipes. Penny Soup derives it's name from the cheap produce that it utilises as well as the perfect little discs of vegetables that are used to garnish it. The ingredients in my version are slightly different from the book and I use all the trimmings to make my own stock, rather than using a shop bought one. This means I can not only control the seasoning levels exactly but it brings the cost per dish down even further.  

Penny Soup - makes 4 servings
  • 2 leek, cut into discs
  • 3 medium potatoes 
  • 3  carrots
  • 2 parsnip
  • 2 jerusalem artichoke 
  • 15g butter
  • 1l water
  • parsley to garnish
  • S&P to taste
  1. Slice all the vegetables into discs approximately 5 mm thick apart from the potato which should be cubed. On a low heat simmer all the off-cuts (but not the potato skin) in a pan for 10 mins.
  2. Sauté all the vegetables and butter except the potato in a large saucepan for 10 mins until soft and translucent. Remove a handful of each vegetable from the pan and put to one side. Add the potato and stock and simmer for 20 mins until the potato is cooked.
  3. With a slotted spoon transfer the vegetables to the processor or blender and run until you have a smooth purée. Now add the stock incrementally until you reach your ideal consistency. Season to taste.
  4. Pour the soup into bowls and garnish with the vegetable discs you have saved and  some chopped parsley.


  1. Helped along with the focaccia (Richard Bertinet's recipe).

  2. Hi. Thanks for the comment on my blog - I cam here to reply for obvious reasons. That book you recommend I have stashed under my bed - it's gonna be part of Steve's Christmas present. And, of course, I'll get to borrow it! Yay. So I'm so thrilled that you think it's good.

  3. The best gifts for others are those you wish for yourself ;-)

  4. Jane,
    When I saw the soup I thought it was butternut - beautiful colour - then I read the ingredients and was so surprised. It is do deep and luscious looking.

  5. i call these 'Fridge Soups' and I use more than just old veg... try adding grated cheese that's gone hard... always a good trick!... yours looks so silky!

  6. You get much the same effect with am old parmesan rind as well. It adds almost an umami level. Sadly I didn't have one in the fridge.

  7. This would be "veg box soup" in my house. The last of the veg from the veg box would get turned into soup surprise the night before the next one turned up. Amazing how a few sad looking carrots can turn into something so tasty.