Let’s be honest. For some of us, getting in our daily vegetable quota can be a daunting prospect. Luckily enough, soup is one way of upping our veggie intake without revoking on flavour. Personally I’ve always been partial to food with a bit of chew, but after trying out a succession of soups over the colder months, I’ve found that I quite enjoy the comforting creaminess one finds in a bowl of something smooth and warming. Enter my Zucchini & Goat’s Cheese Soup – a quick and easy answer to a cold midweek night when you want to be spending your evening in front of the fire, not the stove. Unless of course you are lucky enough to have an original Aga.
As far as this post goes, my ambivalence hasn’t been reserved only for soup but for also goat’s cheese. Infamous for the fact that the cheese taste mirrors the smell of the animal that produced it, goat’s cheese has long been considered an acquired taste – even though that taste is deliciously gamey and often maligned for being a tad more fuller in flavour than it’s cow-made counterparts.
Packed with nutrients that aid in everything from digestion to lowering cholesterol, the humble zucchini is a water-rich green vegetable that works wonderfully when added into a simple soup. It’s mellow, buttery flavour perfectly pairs with the rich tang of the goat’s cheese pecorino I’ve made use of here. Can’t find goat pecorino? Cow’s milk pecorino will work equally as well. I’ve served my soup with little twists of puff pastry that have been sprinkled with Parmesan and baked to a golden brown but if you’re looking to cut down on the richness, then a densely seeded brown bread would make a delicious alternative.
Zucchini & Goat’s Cheese Soup
Prep time: 10mins / Cook time: 1 hour / Serves: 4 to 6
You will need:
- 5 to 10 large zucchini marrows, washed
- 2 large brown onions, peeled
- 10ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 litre fresh chicken or vegetable stock
- 250ml fresh cream
- 100g of goat’s cheese pecorino, finely grated
- coarse ground sea salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Slice the zucchinis and onions into rounds and arrange on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle over the olive oil and season. Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes until lightly grilled. Meanwhile, gently heat the stock in a large pot. Add in the roasted onions and zucchinis and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes before removing from the heat and adding in the cream. Using an immersion blender, whizz the soup until smooth and then add in the grated goat’s cheese. Season to taste and serve hot.
For the pastry straws you will need:
- 400g readymade puff pastry
- 50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- an egg, beaten
Preheat your oven to 230°C. On a floured surface, lay out the sheets of pastry and slice lengthways into 4cm wide strips. Sprinkle over half of the Parmesan and twist the pastry strips in a corkscrew motion – you may need to fold the strips in half for shorter straws. Arrange the straws on a lined baking sheet, brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle over the last of the grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve at room temperature alongside the soup.