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Recipe: 3 Nourishing Winter Soups

By Chef SABYASACHI GORAI
January 20, 2022 16:54 IST
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When it is cold outside, Chef Sabyasachi Gorai's soothing soups will make you feel good inside.

Featuring five veggies, the wholesome Pumpkin Soup has plenty of fibre and is rich in omega-3 fats, thanks to the addition of walnuts.

The rich Chicken Tortellini Soup is to be had with walnut pesto and a side of crusty bread.

Made with brown cane sugar, the silky, smooth, Sweet Walnut Soup has just three ingredients.

Photographs: California Walnuts

Pumpkin Soup

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

  • 130 gm or 1 large potato, peeled
  • 600 gm pumpkin, peeled
  • 60 gm leeks or spring onions
  • 60 gm or 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 60 gm or 1 small onion
  • 40 ml or 2½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 320 ml water
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder or to taste
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 200 gm chopped walnuts, optional

Method

  • Cut the vegetables into small, similar-sized pieces.
    Saute the chopped vegetables with the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed kadhai or saucepan for 10 minutes.
    Raise heat to medium-high, add the water, cover and and cook till the pumpkin and the potato is tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Take off heat, let the vegetables cool, transfer into a blender/mixer.
    Add the walnuts and blend well.
  • Add back to the saucepan.
    Add some more water if the soup is too thick.
    Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg.
    Give it a good stir and let it come to a boil again over low-medium heat and then pour into soup bowls and serve.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortellini Soup

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

  • 450 gm chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 230 gm baby Portobello or large mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups chicken broth (please see the note below)
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp onion powder or 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 4-5 finely chopped garlic pods
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 230 gm dried cheese tortellini pasta, available in gourmet grocery stores and online

For the walnut pesto

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1½ cup chopped palak or spinach
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp salt

Method

  • Boil the chicken thighs, sliced mushrooms, chicken broth, dried thyme, onion powder, garlic powder in a large saucepan over low heat for an hour.
    Alternatively, use a slow cooker and cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.
    Fish out the cooked chicken, shred and return to the saucepan or slow cooker.
    Stir in the cream and the tortellini.
    Cover and continue to cook in the saucepan for 15 minutes (or in a slow cooker for 15-30 minutes) or until the pasta is tender.

For the walnut pesto

  • In a food processor or blender, add the walnuts, spinach, salt, Parmesan, olive oil.
    Blend adding the water slowly till smooth.
    Keep aside.

To serve

  • Pour the hot chicken soup into soup bowls and add a spoon of walnut pesto on top. 
    Serve.

Note: Chicken or vegetable broth can be purchased ready made from gourmet food shops and online. Or use one chicken soup cube/bouillon cube per 2 cups boiling water.
Or make fresh chicken broth by boiling 8-10 cups water with 1 kg whole uncut chicken, 1-2 large roughly chopped carrots, 3 stalks roughly chopped celery with leaves, 2 medium onions chopped in chunks, 5-6 whole black peppercorns, 2 tsp salt, 4 tbsp chopped parsley with stems, 2 laung or cloves, 5 pods garlic, 2 tej patta nor bay leaves for an hour over low heat or till the chicken is cooked vegetables are tender and the water is steeped with the flavour of the vegetables and spices.
Strain the chicken, vegetables, spices from the water and use the broth.


Sweet Walnut Soup

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 5 cups water for boiling the walnuts
  • ¼ cup rice flour
  • 125 gm brown cane sugar or use regular sugar
  • 2½ cups of cold water
  • 1 cup room temperature water

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat.
    Add the walnuts and boil uncovered for 1 minute.
    Drain, pat dry and spread the walnuts on an ungreased baking sheet and bake in oven until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
    Take out of the oven and cool.
  • Place cooled walnuts and ½ cup of the cold water in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
    Add another ½ cup cold water and blend again.
  • In a saucepan, whisk rice flour and the 1 cup room temperature water.
    Add the walnut puree and the remaining 1½ cups cold water.
    Heat over medium-high heat, whisking frequently, until it comes to a boil, about 10 minutes.
    Add the brown cane sugar and reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
    Serve piping hot.

Note: The consistency should be of a light cream soup; if it is too thick, whisk in ½ cup more cold water.

Cinnamon may be added for a sweet, earthy aroma. Top with walnut halves.

Chef Sabyasachi Gorai is a consultant chef and mentor.

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Chef SABYASACHI GORAI