As Anna Jones suggests January is the time when we are most open to change, especially when it comes to eating. These broths are warming, purging bowls of food to nourish new beginnings in any realm you choose. Both are particularly good when you are feeling off-colour.
Green peppercorn and lemongrass coconut broth
Made creamy with coconut milk and sweetened with squash, this highly spiced broth feels especially restorative if you’re fighting off a cold. Turmeric, ginger and garlic are all immune-boosting ingredients, while fiery green chillies will blow away your cobwebs for the new year. I use green peppercorns, as I love the grassy punch they give: seek them out fresh if you can; if not, the brined ones in jars will do just fine.
4 tbsp coconut oil
A thumb of ginger (about 50g), peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1-2 small green chillies, destemmed
4 spring onions, trimmed and roughly chopped
A small bunch of coriander,leaves and stalks
A few sprigs of mint
1 heaped tsp ground turmeric
15 green peppercorns, fresh or brined
2 x 400ml tins coconut milk
1 tbsp vegetable stock powder or ½ vegetable stock cube
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
A stalk of lemongrass
½ butternut squash, peeled
100g spinach or winter greens
100g brown rice noodles
1 tbsp honey
1 Fill the kettle and put it on to boil. Gently warm the coconut oil over a low flame until it just melts. Put the ginger, garlic and chillies (the amount you use and whether you keep the seeds in depends on how hot you like things) into your food processor with the spring onions, almost all of the coriander and mint leaves. Add the melted coconut oil, then blitz for 30 seconds, or until you have a smooth, deep green paste. Scrape into a small bowl, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until you are ready to use it.
2 Put a deep, medium-sized pan over a moderate heat and add the herb and spice paste, stirring it for a minute while it warms. Stir in the turmeric, peppercorns, both tins of coconut milk, the juice of one of the limes, the veg stock powder and the soy sauce.
3 Fill one of the tins one and a half times with hot water from the kettle and add it to the pan. Use a rolling pin or pestle, smash the lemongrass so it splinters but remains together, then tuck it into the pan. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and leave it to simmer, bubbling gently.
4 Meanwhile finely slice the butternut squash and add this to the pan too.
5 Shred the greens. Put the noodles into a heatproof bowl and pour over enough of the boiling water from the kettle to cover them.
6 Once the squash is cooked through, add the greens to the soup and allow it to come to a simmer again. Check the seasoning of the soup, adding the honey if it needs some sweetness and more lime and salt as needed.
7 Drain the noodles, then divide them between four deep soup bowls. Ladle over the soup and vegetables, adding a generous squeeze of lime juice and, if you like, a few extra coriander and mint leaves.
This is a soup for the soul: chicken soup without the chicken, and with no apology!
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 leek, finely sliced
3 bulbs of fennel, trimmed and finely sliced, fronds reserved
3 celery stalks, chopped into 1cm pieces, leaves reserved
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
8 medium garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
2 tbsp ginger, peeled and grated
¾ tsp white pepper, plus more to taste
50g leftover pasta
For the tofu
200g tofu, sliced into roughly 1cm sticks
3 tbsp soy sauce
Fennel fronds and celery leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
1 Heat a little olive oil in a large soup pot over a medium heat. Add the onion, leek, fennel, celery and carrot, then turn the heat down to low and cook gently for 20-30 minutes, or until everything is very soft and sweet, without browning too much. Keep a little jug of water close to the pan and add a splash of water if it looks like it’s going to stick.
2 Add the garlic and ginger, cook for another couple of minutes, then squeeze in the juice of the lemon.
3 Add the peppercorns and 2 litres of water, plus a good pinch of sea salt (or you can use vegetable stock if you want a fuller flavoured soup). Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
4 Meanwhile, toss the tofu in 2 tbsp soy sauce. Heat a pan with a little olive oil and fry until crisp. Once the tofu is golden and crispy, add the final tablespoon of soy sauce and toss quickly in the hot pan: the soy should stick to the tofu and give it a rich stickiness. Remove from the heat.
5 Your soup should now be about ready. Add your pasta: if it’s long noodles then break them up as you add them: cook for another 8 minutes (or as long as your pasta takes to cook). Finally, taste, and adjust with more salt, water or even a squeeze more lemon, if needed. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and top with the tofu, some fennel fronds and celery leaves, plus a good drizzle of olive oil.
Recipes source: The Guardian