Members' Recipes Archive

January 2002
Simple soups: Slightly Spicy Red Vegetable Soup
Bridget Jones

Simple soups: Slightly Spicy Red Vegetable Soup

By: Bridget Jones

Bright, frosty weather is brilliant for long winter walks, especially when there's a pot of soup waiting back home to warm up on afterwards. Made from a few everyday vegetables, these recipes are full of goodness. They are simple and satisfy the seasonal urge to enjoy comforting, traditional dishes but without being rich and heavy.
When there are lots of people around to savour the results, it is great fun stirring up huge potfuls of soup from very basic ingredients. With builders in the house for the last couple of months, I have been making the most of the opportunity to make great pans of mixed vegetable soups - minestrone style one day, bubbling away with root vegetables another, or with just an armful of leeks and some potatoes. Running low on fresh produce the other day, I decided to make 'green' soup using frozen petit pois and spinach. I love wintry pea soups but I was not sure that the builders would appreciate the rather lurid soup that simmered ready for their lunch.
It was a complete hoot seeing their faces when I opened the pot to reveal GREEN ... suddenly they all had sandwiches, thank you very much, and tried to escape. I insisted they at least HAD to taste it before they refused. When I pointed out that I knew they were just being wimpish because they were frightened of tasting my green soup, they crumpled. And within two spoonfuls they were all wide-eyed with amazement that it tasted good. They keeping asking when there's going to be more green soup!

Slightly Spicy Red Vegetable Soup
This is another homely soup, this time with a light flavour and a refreshing hint of ginger and cardamom adding a little intrigue. Use a good stock for the broth - turkey stock is perfect but chicken or vegetable will do nicely as long as they are not synthetic or too strong in flavour.


6 green cardamoms
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 onions, finely chopped
25 g/1 oz fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Coarsely grated zest of 1/2 large orange
3 red peppers, seeded and diced
350 g/12 oz carrots, diced
1/2 swede (500-600 g/1lb 2oz-1lb 5oz), diced
1 large potato, diced
Salt and pepper
1.5 litres/2 3/4 pints good turkey, chicken or vegetable stock


1. Slit the papery cardamoms and scrape out the black seeds into a mortar, then crush them with a pestle. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onions, crushed cardamoms, ginger, orange zest and peppers. Cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes, until the onions as softened slightly.

2. Add the carrots, swede and potato. Sprinkle in a little seasoning and stir for a few seconds. Pour in the stock - the vegetables should be well covered - and bring to the boil. Immediately the soup boils, reduce the heat so that it just bubbles and cover the pan. Simmer the soup gently for 30 minutes, until the diced vegetables are tender but not falling. Taste the soup for seasoning - it should be sweet and delicate. Serve immediately.

© Recipe copyright 2002 Bridget Jones


Author: Bridget Jones Email:

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