The clocks have gone back, heavy coats have been hauled from the cupboard, dark nights are drawing in… Winter is upon us. Good thing we’ve launched our new range of (almost) homemade organic soups to warm you through!
Many moons ago, we set out to create an inspiring range of organic soups. This wouldn’t be the usual characterless supermarket fare, most often made with frozen veg, blended smooth, and given flavour with the conjurer’s trick of bouillon powder. Instead, we wanted to make a selection of recipes with a real Riverford twist. Chefs Bob and Kirsty set out to the kitchen, ladles in hand, with these aims:
- Lots of our own fresh veg at the heart of every recipe
- Meat (where it’s used) just as a seasoning, not as the main ingredient
- Not all blended smooth, but some more like chunky pottages
- Real depth of flavour from fresh herbs, aromatics and stock
- A range that can change throughout the year to reflect the seasons
After a lot of experimentation, they whittled it down to four ideas: two veggie, two with meat, and all extremely satisfying.
Dreaming up soup recipes was one thing; working out how to make those same recipes on a larger scale, and keep the vibrant homemade flavour, was another…
A little help from Pegoty Hedge
Pegoty Hedge is a small kitchen owned and run by the Surman family on their organic mixed farm in the Worcestershire countryside, at the foot of the Malvern Hills. As fellow farmers, they share our belief that quality ingredients, treated with care and attention, will give consistently delicious results. Every one of their organic meals is handmade from scratch. The team already cook up our recipes for nut roast and chicken stock, so we were sure they would do the same wonderful job with our soups.
Having received our recipes, Oliver Surman kindly invited Bob up to the farm, to spend some time tasting and tweaking until he was happy that the soups had been faithfully translated into a bigger batch.
As they soon discovered, a chunky soup is much more time consuming to cook and to pack than one that’s blended smooth. The veg needs to be uniformly chopped, and the liquid and chunky bits must be equally divided into the pots. To make our chosen recipes, the team at Pegoty Hedge must prep the fresh veg by hand, and strain and portion each pot individually. But everyone agreed that the extra effort is well worth it for the homemade result.
All adjustments to the recipes were agreed over a civilised cuppa at the farmhouse table, before Bob headed back to Devon with a boot full of soup to unleash on our lucky tasting panel.
After all that pondering and tweaking, these are the recipes we’ve ended up with, all spot on for a hearty lunch or light dinner for two people.
Chicken, spinach and courgette laksa
A noodle-laced elixir shot through with fresh veg and slow-cooked chicken. The fresh chicken broth is flavoured with a restorative South Asian fusion of bright Thai-style spicing and deep, earthy turmeric. There’s enough chilli to make you take notice, but nothing too potent, and a good squeeze of lime to finish.
This smooth carrot and lentil soup is packed with sweet Riverford carrots and onions, fragrant Indian spices, coconut, ginger and chilli. We’d recommend serving it with warm bread or naan.
Moroccan vegetable harira
This soup is a true meal in a bowl. With all the fragrant flavours of North Africa, it’s chock-full of veg (including Riverford potatoes, carrots and red peppers), rice and chickpeas. A robust lunchtime repast for two, or easily teased into an evening meal with a poached egg, some shredded chicken or warm flatbreads.
Smoked bacon, kale and borlotti soup
A sturdy soup, reminiscent of an Italian ribollita. It has a backbone of Riverford onions, carrots and celery, and creamy borlotti beans, slow-cooked with plenty of sweet tomatoes and finished with robust black kale and smoked bacon. Chunky and filling – made to sate the keenest appetites.
Our new organic soups are available to order now – you can browse the selection here.