Monday, 15 September 2014

Smoked Haddock Vichyssoise

Homemade soups are a great way of getting fussy eaters to eat vegetables and other ingredients that they might not normally be inclined towards. I have an on-going battle with my gang to try and get them to eat more vegetables in their diet and I definitely find it frustrating that they are so reticent. However, they love the soups that I make and during the colder months, there is rarely an evening when I don’t have a pot of soup ready to dish up to them – and quite amazingly their favourite soup and the one that they demand is vegetable soup. I vary this to include a combination of the following, onion, celery, leeks, potatoes, carrots, parsnips… basically whatever I have on hand. I don’t have a blueprint recipe for this soup, because it varies depending on what I have in the vegetable basket. The basis of all the soups I make is a well-flavoured stock. Sometimes I use vegetable stock and other times I use chicken stock. Mostly I use homemade stocks, made from scratch, but if I have none I use stockpots – concentrated stocks that can be bought in tiny little tubs, flavoured with herbs and meat extracts which can be popped into the soup as you are simmering the vegetables.

Although, I like both chunky soups, where the vegetables are discernible and I also like puréed soups, my gang much prefer the latter, so this is what I tend to make most often.


Every now and again, I like to make something a little different, to vary the ingredients a little to try and try and introduce my three to different flavours in the hope that they will become less conservative about what they eat. This soup is my attempt at doing so and uses one of my favourite ingredients – smoked haddock.

I didn’t overwhelm the soup with a large amount of fish, but used enough so that the slight smokiness of the fish came through. The finished soup was absolutely delicious and packed full of flavour. We all loved it.

Try and get natural dyed smoked haddock; it is far preferable to the bright orange smoked fish that can be bought, but can be a little tricky to get your hands on.

This soup is intended to be served silkily smooth so it is puréed, but if you want to add a little bit of texture, you can add a few flakes of the cooked flaked fish on top, when you serve it. After puréeing the soup, I pass the soup through a fine sieve to make sure that it is like liquid velvet when you eat it, but this is not absolutely necessary. After that a little cream and a few finely chopped chives is all you need to finish the dish off.

The soup is lovely served with the potato scones that I recently gave the recipe for. The recipe can be accessed here.

Ingredients:

50g butter
250g onions, chopped
250g leeks, sliced (white parts only)
100g potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes
A sprig of fresh thyme
A pinch of curry powder
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
600ml vegetable stock
200ml single cream
180g smoked haddock, cut into bite sized pieces
To garnish:
Cream
Fresh chives, finely chopped
 

Method:

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat and add the onions, leeks, potatoes and sprig of thyme. Allow the vegetables to sweat, without colouring for about ten minutes until they are tender and the onions and leeks are translucent.
2. Add a pinch of curry powder and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix everything together and then add the stock and smoked haddock. Bring up to the boil over a moderate heat and then reduce the temperature and allow simmer for ten minutes.
3. Remove the sprig of thyme. Place the soup in a blender and purée for a couple of minutes until smooth. If you want a flawlessly smooth soup, you can then pass the soup through a sieve into a clean saucepan.
4. Add the cream and stir through. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary. Heat the soup over a moderate heat until piping hot and then serve in warm bowls garnished with a swirl of cream and a few chopped chives.

Serves 4-6.