I feel like I'm very generously letting you all in on a secret and improving your lives immeasurably by posting this recipe. It astounded me a little, I must admit. I love a tasty soup as much as the next person, but it's never the whole deal for me; if it's not a precursor to something more substantial, or served up with something substantial (i.e. definitely not salad) then I become quite alarmed in anticipation of that sensation of really just not being full enough and having to source alternative means of sustenance. Yes, I am rather neurotic, and yes, it is exhausting being me sometimes. But on occasion there are some things that take me by surprise and distract me away from my indulgent, endless over-thinking of the various mundanities that make up my life. And, believe it or not, this soup was one of them. My quest to make the most of the courgettes in my garden while they are still small and sweet and full of flavour started out as something that I felt involved more effort than I am ever in the mood for on a daily basis. I have now grown to really love some of the recipes that I have tried out, as well as appreciating the nice speedy ones. This soup is bound to become such a staple in my home that I may even stretch to *gasp* actually buying courgettes when the garden supply dries up. And, possibly an even more shocking whodathunk it turn of events: I ate this for dinner and finished feeling full and complete. There wasn't even any bread involved. I have always wondered what is wrong with those people who eat soup for dinner; it's even more suspicious behaviour than soup for lunch, in my book. Well I may have joined their ranks. This recipe comes from the same handy feature in Jamie magazine where I also got the recipe for courgette fritters.
Onions for this came form the garden, though I suspect that I may have pulled them a little too early this year, as they were a bit teensy - though very juicy, I must say. Two onions, chopped, go into a pot with two garlic cloves, sliced, in a nicely heated up glug of olive oil for ten minutes. My onion chopping always lets me down, I just can't handle the stinging teary-eyed process of chopping them nice and small. I read somewhere that chopping while holding a slice of bread in your mouth is the only way to prevent crying over your onions. I also noticed in Superquinn recently that they were selling ready-diced onions. I thought about it, I honestly did. Only very briefly though.
Then eight sliced courgettes go in; a pot with a wider base may be a better option for giving them a good fry.
One litre of chicken stock goes in (you can also use veg), and it simmers for ten minutes.
Oh mint, it grows so very abundantly - I saved myself €2 on this by using the mint from my garden. And the smell is much fresher and more vibrant than from that poor beaten-down-by-life stuff that emerges from little plastic prisons via the supermarket. Grow it! For anyone who is looking for something to grow that is a bit of a no-brainer then this is the way to start.
Stir the mint into the pot and season.
Then I chucked it all in the blender - though obviously if my hand blender wasn't totally busted *glares in the direction of the cupboard with the broken stuff in it* then I would do it the simple, straightforward way and blitz it up right there in the pot.
So, right now, it is certainly delicious, with those lovely sweet courgettes and that zingy mint...
..but when the créme fraiche and the lemon go in, that's when it turns into a total dream of a soup. 200ml of créme fraiche and the juice of one lemon, along with a good dose of seasoning. The creaminess and the tang - all of those flavours combined to take me completely and utterly by surprise. If you are feeling hard done by with our apparent lack of a summer, then this will take you away to sunnier climes for the duration of a bowl.
I was too lazy to attempt to smoosh up those lumps of créme fraiche, but they were delicious little pockets of creaminess in the middle of that full-flavoured concoction. Eating this soup was one of those rare moments when my head stopped from going through everything that I had to do and everything that was bothering me and just took the time to process this pleasure.