Silk Purse Soup
This is quite simply one of the yummiest soups I have ever made. Not the prettiest, not by any means, but flavour-wise, well, it is a revelation. I have called it silk purse soup because it is made with a couple of veggies that a lot of people struggle to use because they have had bad experiences with them, so they are the sow’s ear of the vegetable world. I am here to help you turn that sow’s ear into a silk purse. Silk Purse Soup.
2 bunches asparagus
1 large eggplant
2 large potatoes
1 kilo mushrooms
6 fat cloves garlic
2 sticks celery
2 large brown onions
1/2 can coconut milk
2 litres of stock (you can use whatever stock you like, I used beef stock)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme
Okay, so before we begin, you can see from these ingredients that we are about to make another bucket of soup, if you don’t want that much, halve the ingredients. I like the bucket of soup method as I freeze half for another time, and this soup is well worth a revisit, even Mr T who is the anti eggplant and not so keen on asparagus, absolutely loved this soup (I did not tell him what was in it until he had finished it).
Slice your eggplant in about 1cm thick slices, lay it on a plate or in a large bowl, sprinkle liberally with salt, remember from when we made the vegan bolognese? We are using the salt to draw the bitterness out. Set it aside for at least half an hour, then rinse it really well, I actually soak mine for five minutes too after rinsing and then discard the water, just to minimise the salt residue because of my hypertension.
In a large pot heat your olive oil to a medium heat, tip in your chopped brown onions, stir them about until they start to get a little colour, now add your chopped celery and your eggplant, keep everything moving about, we don’t want burning, but we are looking for a bit of colour here, some nice golden brown bits, any that present on the bottom of the pot, scrape them into the mix and keep it going, when all that has started to collapse a bit and is fragrant, add the thyme and chopped garlic, stir for one more minute, toss in the mushrooms, keep it all moving around, the trick to getting so much flavour out of this motley crew of vegetables is the stuff that is trying to stick to the bottom of the pot, don’t let it burn! Keep scraping it up and into the mix, soon as the mushrooms start to cook a little I will let you rest. They starting to look a bit juicy? Okay, toss in your stock, your sliced asparagus and peeled, quartered potatoes, if you are not sure how to prepare the asparagus pop into the asparagus soup blog, I went through it all in there, now bring the lot to the boil and then turn down the heat and simmer until everything is very tender and falling apart. Purée with a stick blender until smooth, stir in your coconut milk, season to taste and then take a sip. MMMMM! See, you can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.