My fellow blogger recently bought me ‘Roast Chicken and Other Stories’ by Simon Hopkinson. Voted the ‘most useful cookbook of all time’ by somebody or other, it’s a superb book which is not only packed with inspirational recipes, but also makes excellent bedtime reading. It doesn’t have any photographs (usually a prerequisite for any cookbook), but it doesn’t seem to matter as Simon Hopkinson’s writing is so descriptive. I am going to pretend I bought it when it was first published in 1994 and snort with derision at anyone who doesn’t own a first edition. This parsley soup is the first recipe I’ve tried.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Skill level: Easy
- butter – 75g
- 2 leeks – white parts – sliced
- 2 large bunches of parsley – dividing the stalks from the leaves.
- 1 large potato – chopped
- vegetable stock – 750 ml
- s & p
- double cream – 150 ml
Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the chopped leeks and the parsley stalks and sweat uncovered for 20 minutes.
Add the potato and stock and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
Add half of the parsley leaves (roughly chopped) and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile plunge the remaining parsley in vigorously boiling water for 30 seconds, remove and immediately cool under a cold running tap. Squeeze out as much water as you can using a tea towel.
Remove the soup from the heat, add the squeezed parsley and liquidise.
Force the soup through a fine sieve into another saucepan, return to the heat, add the cream and season to taste.
Verdict: A subtle luxurious soup. The technique of heating and cooling the parsley ensures that it retains its colour and produces a wonderful vivid green soup.
Drink: A midweek bottle of red.
Entertainment: Revisiting ‘The Wire’, series 1, episodes 4 and 5. ‘D’ tries to teach his troops to play chess “Now she’s the Queen, but she ain’t no bitch” and McNulty and Bunk conduct an investigation using only the word ‘fuck’. Best viewing ever.