Yotam Ottolenghi’s soup recipes (2024)

My four-year-old is pretty capricious. Like most boys his age, plain pasta or bread are Flynn’s first choice – always! – but he also surprises us now and then with an out-of-character enthusiasm for, say, cabbage one day or mussels the next. This makes cooking for him a chancy experience – unless soup is on offer. For reasons known only to Flynn, a soup can feature all manner of normally undesirable ingredients without so much as a peep of protest. As he’s the youngest and the loudest in the family, the rest of us have to toe the line. But we do this willingly and lovingly, of course, because what’s better than a bowl of warm soup and a blissfully quiet child?

Chicken and black-eyed bean soup (picture top)

Chicken wings are a great and economical way to ramp up the chicken flavour in a soup. This one comes together fairly easily, without having to soak the beans overnight. To make it more child-friendly, serve it without the salsa.

Prep 25 min
Cook 1 hr 15 min
Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
500g chicken wings
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed with the flat of a large knife
250g plum tomatoes, finely chopped
1½ tbsp picked oregano leaves
1½ tbsp basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ lemon
Salt
200g dried black-eyed beans
1 litre chicken stock

For the salsa
1 green chilli, finely chopped (remove the pith and seeds if you prefer less heat)
1½ tbsp basil leaves, finely chopped
1½ tbsp parsley leaves, finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil

Put a large, heavy-bottomed pot on a medium-high heat and, once hot, add the first eight ingredients and fry, stirring often, for 12 minutes, until the wings are beginning to colour. Add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon and two and a half teaspoons of salt, and fry, stirring often, for three minutes more. Add the beans, add the stock and 300ml water to cover, and bring up to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium, cover with a lid and cook for 35-40 minutes, or until the beans are cooked through but not falling apart.

Turn off the heat, then use a pair of tongs to transfer the wings to a plate and leave to cool. Squeeze the cooked lemon into the soup to release all its juices, then discard the shell. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick the meat off the bones and add it to the soup pot; discard the skin and bones. Return the soup to a medium heat for five minutes, just to heat through. Meanwhile, mix all the salsa ingredients in a small bowl with a good pinch of salt.

Divide the soup between four bowls, top with salsa and serve.

Hawaij onion and chickpea soup

Yotam Ottolenghi’s soup recipes (1)

This take on French onion soup features hawaij, a Yemeni spice blend that complements the sweet onions, and brings with it extra complexity and warmth. The cheesy bread is optional. If you prefer to keep the soup vegan, use vegetable stock instead of chicken and extra oil instead of butter.

Prep 30 min
Cook 1 hr 50 min
Serves 4 generously

75ml olive oil, or 50g unsalted butter plus 2 tbsp olive oil
1.2kg onions (ie, about 7-8), peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 whole cloves
8 cardamom pods, seeds removed and shells discarded
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
½ tsp ground turmeric
250g tomato passata
30g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained (240g net weight)
1.5 litre vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and black pepper

For the cheesy bread (optional)
220g mature cheddar, roughly grated
10g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
6 slices sourdough, cut about 2cm thick
15g unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp dijon mustard

Put the oil (or butter and two tablespoons of oil) in a large, cast-iron saucepan on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onions, stir to coat them in the fat, then turn the heat to medium and cook gently for an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until completely soft and golden.

Meanwhile, make the spice mix. Put the coriander and cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom and fenugreek in a small frying pan on a medium-high heat. Toast, shaking the pan frequently, for five to six minutes, until fragrant, then tip into a spice grinder and blitz to a powder. Stir in the turmeric and set aside.

When the onions are done, turn up the heat to medium-high, add the spice mix, passata and fresh coriander, and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Add the chickpeas, stock, one and three-quarter teaspoons of salt and a very generous amount of pepper, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat back down to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

For the cheesy bread, if making, heat the grill to its highest setting. In a small bowl, mix the cheese with the coriander, garlic and a good grind of pepper. When the soup is close to ready, put the bread on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, grill it for a minute, then remove from the oven and flip over. Brush the untoasted side first with butter and then mustard, top with the cheese mixture and grill for three or four minutes more, until golden and bubbly. Cut each slice into three.

Divide the soup between four bowls, top each with three slices of cheesy bread and serve with the remaining cheese bread alongside.

Celeriac, garlic and rice soup with charred lemon salsa

Yotam Ottolenghi’s soup recipes (2)

I use garlic three ways here: roasted to add sweetness, fried for crunch and garlic oil to drizzle on top. Feel free to double or even triple the number of garlic heads you roast – the cloves can be kept in oil in a sealed jar and used in spreads, dressings or even folded into mashed potato. This soup thickens as it sits, so add more liquid to get it to a consistency you like.

Prep 25 min
Cook 1 hr 20 min
Serves 4

3 whole heads garlic, top trimmed to expose the cloves, plus 6 extra cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
105ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Salt and black pepper
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium celeriac (700g), peeled and cut into 1½cm cubes
3 cinnamon sticks
1½ tsp dried oregano
80g short-grain rice
500ml vegetable stock
2 lemons – 1 cut into 6 ¼cm-thick rounds, the other juiced, to get 1½ tbsp
10g parsley leaves, roughly chopped
3 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
½ tsp chilli flakes (optional)

Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/465F/ gas 9. Drizzle the garlic heads with a little oil, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, then wrap them individually and tightly in foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly coloured on top and softened. Once cool enough to handle, use a small, sharp knife to separate the cloves, discard the skins and set aside.

Meanwhile, put two tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion, celeriac and cinnamon, and cook, stirring occasionally, for eight minutes, until everything is softened and lightly coloured. Add the oregano and rice, stir to coat, then pour in the stock, 1.3 litres of water, one and three-quarter teaspoons of salt and a good grind of pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium-low and cook gently for an hour, stirring occasionally, until the rice has started to break down into the soup. Transfer 200g of the mixture (taking roughly equal amounts of solids and liquid) to a blender, add the roast garlic and lemon juice, and blitz smooth. Pour this back into the soup pot and keep warm until ready to serve; remove and discard the cinnamon sticks.

While the soup is cooking, put a large frying pan on a high heat. Remove the pips from the lemon rounds and, once the pan is hot, add them to the pan and cook for two minutes on each side, until nicely charred. Finely chop the charred lemon, then put it in a bowl with the parsley and spring onion.

Heat the remaining five tablespoons of oil and the sliced garlic in a small frying pan on a medium heat, and cook until the garlic starts to turn golden – eight to nine minutes. Add the chilli flakes, if using, cook for a minute more, then drain the solids through a sieve set over a bowl, and add the oil to the lemon and herb mixture.

Divide the soup between four bowls, top each portion with a drizzle of the lemon and herb dressing, followed by the reserved fried garlic and chilli, and serve.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s soup recipes (2024)

FAQs

How to make soup really flavorful? ›

7 Easy Ways to Make Any Soup Better
  1. Brown or Sear the Meat.
  2. Roast the the Veggies.
  3. Mix up the Texture.
  4. Use Homemade Stock Whenever Possible.
  5. Put Your Cheese Rinds to Work.
  6. Perk up a Bland Soup With Simple Pantry Staples.
  7. Add Fresh Herbs or Dairy When Serving.
  8. Recipes Pictured.

What mistakes do cooks do when cooking soups? ›

Common mistakes with soups:
  • Using inferior stock. Most of my soups are based on good stocks usually made at home. ...
  • Not sautéing onions, celery and garlic before adding. ...
  • Adding ingredients in the wrong order. ...
  • Not adding umami. ...
  • Not garnishing. ...
  • Not tasting.
Feb 5, 2021

How do you liven up vegetable soup? ›

Cumin is great for adding a little warmth but no heat. If you want heat, then a couple of twists of ground pepper work. Vegetable soup can stand out on its own but can need a little help to draw out the flavours. Salt is one of those spices that can do that.

What's the secret to a good soup? ›

To make sure that every spoonful of soup is richly flavored, with juicy meat and/or tender vegetables, follow these kitchen-tested tips.
  • Use a Sturdy Pot. ...
  • Sauté the Aromatics. ...
  • Start with Good Broth. ...
  • Cut Vegetables to the Right Size. ...
  • Stagger the Addition of Vegetables. ...
  • Keep Liquid at a Simmer. ...
  • Season Just Before Serving.
Oct 9, 2022

What is the most important ingredient in soup? ›

For clear, brothy soups, stock is your most important ingredient. If you want to make a good soup, you need to use an excellently flavored stock — otherwise, the entire pot could be tasteless.

What not to put in soup? ›

The Worst Things to Put in Your Soup
  1. By Sara Butler. If there's one good thing about fall and winter, it's soup. ...
  2. Heavy Cream. Heavy cream creates an inviting texture for soups but that's where its positive contributions end. ...
  3. Juice. ...
  4. Turkey Bacon. ...
  5. Cheese. ...
  6. Croutons.

What vegetables can you not put in soup? ›

Foods in the Brassica family, such as Bok Choy, are too strong for stock/broth and can impart a bitter taste. Foods in the Brassica family, such as broccoli, are too strong for stock/broth and can impart a bitter taste.

Why put butter in soup? ›

A bit of fat, usually in the form of butter and olive oil, is essential to making a robust soup. Fat is also a vehicle for flavor, and helps to brown vegetables.

What is the best herb to put in soup? ›

The top 5 herbs for soups
  • Sage. You might wonder why sage is the Sherlock Holmes of soup herbs. ...
  • Rosemary. Rosemary is that audacious pioneer that strides into your soup pot without hesitation, infusing it with its fragrant essence. ...
  • Thyme. ...
  • Parsley. ...
  • Basil.
Feb 23, 2024

What gives vegetable soup that depth of flavor? ›

Tips for Flavorful Vegetable Soup

Flavor the base: We add Italian seasoning and tomato paste to the aromatics and warm them up to bring the seasonings back to life. You could use fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary, or even add a Parmesan rind for more flavor.

Can you add Worcestershire sauce to soup? ›

Adding Worcestershire Sauce To Soups

It will work in a broad range of dishes from your favorite French onion soup to velvety tomato bisque. It definitely does a great job of amping up the meaty flavors of a beef stew as well as giving vegetable soups a flavor lift, too.

What should be added to enrich the flavor of the soup? ›

Herbs and sources add flavor, aroma, and intensity to the soup broth. You can pick fresh or dried herbs like basil for tomato-based soups or fresh parsley for clear broths. You may also add more spices like turmeric, ground ginger, ground paprika, or nutmeg for a touch of spice and color to your soup broth.

Does soup get more flavor the longer it simmers? ›

Bring everything to a boil, reduce the heat, and let simmer for at least 30 minutes. The longer the stock cooks, the more flavorful your soup will be.

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