Christmas soup

A gorgeous rich roasted tomato and fennel soup with a hint of orange

I was recently invited to attend a 1 day vegetarian cookery course at Exeter Cookery School (you can read all about my experience here ). I had such a brilliant day- I really loved learning all the new skills and recipes! One of the things that we made was a slow-roasted fennel and tomato ragout, which we then turned into a soup- and honestly I can say that it is the most delicious soup I have ever eaten. I took some home with me and had it for dinner and I just didn’t want it to end! Jim’s recipe was perfect, and I would definitely recreate it completely for a special occasion. But it did contain a lot of wine, olive oil and Pastis (an anise flavoured liqueur), and I got thinking about how I could tweak it to make it a healthy everday soup, that you could still enjoy with the calories cut down.

I replaced the wine with white wine stock (I get this from Tescos and it is fab!), and I really cut down on the oil. The real key for me in this soup is the orange zest- it just adds an amazing flavour, and that’s why I called it Christmas soup as the orange makes it taste really Christmassy to me!

Jim, the chef at Exeter Cookery School will probably be horrified with me mangling his recipe so much, but I was really happy with this soup and I ate it guilt-free all week (I also used it as a pasta sauce for my children one night when I had run out of ideas!)

 

I did keep a tablespoon of olive oil in this- if you are following Slimming World and want to keep it syn free you can take this out and use low calorie cooking spray instead.

My Recipe

Serves: 8
Syns: less than 1 per portion (olive oil)
Healthy Extra: none

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 bulb fennel, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 red peppers and 2 yellow peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 whole bulb garlic, cloves removed from skin and added in whole
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 litre white wine stock (I found this in Tescos- if you can't get hold of it use chicken stock)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Peel of one orange (use a potato peeler and just take off the surface of the skin, not the white pithy bit)
  • freshly ground salt and pepper

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160c
  2. Prepare all the veg and the orange peel, and throw in a large baking tray. Stir through the olive oil, coating everything, stir in the chopped tomatoes, and then pour in half of the white wine stock (500ml)
  3. Season generously with salt and pepper
  4. Pop into the oven and bake for 3 hours. Just check this every hour, and give it a good stir every time you do
  5. Remove from the oven, Place in a large saucepan and add the remaining stock, bringing up to the boil and then turning the heat off.
  6. Using a hand blender (or a food processor), whizz it up until smooth, and then adjust the seasoning to taste (plenty of salt!)
  7. Serve

Additional Info

To make this extra Christmassy, use Christmas biscuit cutters to make little shapes out of wholemeal toast when you serve it! (this went down really well with my children!)

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