Soup has to be the ultimate winter food: it's healthy, hearty, comforting, and best of all, easy to make. I experimented a bit and have decided on my two favourite versions. The only difference between the two is the meat. Most grocery stores have "soup packs" that contain the basic veggies. Can you say convenient? These soup packs usually contain: carrots, turnips, celery, and leeks. Add a few tomatoes and one brown onion and you're pretty much set.
This recipe works for stove top or slow cooker. Depends on how much time you have, but I do prefer the stove top for the simple reason that the flavour is better when you first fry a brown onion along with butter, your meat of choice, and one clove of garlic.
Then you just chop up all of your ingredients (grate the carrots and turnips to thicken the soup), toss them all in the pot, add salt, pepper, and herbs to taste. Add a few cups of water - depends on how big your pot is and the volume of ingredients you've got in there. Keep in mind that you have to add more water when making a chicken soup. Let it boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then bring the heat down to a simmer for 60 to 90 minutes. The longer it simmers, the mushier the soup.
You can blitz the soup in a food processor, but I just used the old school utensil mum always used to mash potatoes with. Why? Because I started making the soup before gym and just let it simmer while I was simmering at the gym. That means food is ready to eat as soon as I stumble through the front door after the cardio session. It also means I'm not in the mood for the extra effort of food processing. Besides, mashing it by hand is good for stress relief.
Simple, no fuss soup. I used tenderized beef steak and chicken fillets (on separate occasions, of course) and just cut the meat into small cubes. What about stock, you ask? The soup might taste better with it. I don't really know, because I simply don't have the time or patience to bother with extracting the bones and what not. If you have the time and the patience, then please, by all means, go for it.
This is a basic recipe, go wild with it and personalize it to suit your taste. I know carrots and turnips are probably not Banting-friendly, and to be honest, I simply don't care. It's a soup, there are usually 3 medium carrots and 3 medium turnips in one soup that serves 4. Justified or not, you decide.