Just when I thought the cooler days were behind me, I awake to rain and chill, so lunch today is going to be a soup to warm those cockles – in this case my tummy. This recipe from my Delicious UK January 2020 winter menu goes one step further in yumminess with a side order of gooey cheese melts.
Red Onion Soup with Cheesy Sourdough Melts
The addition of the gooey cheese melts gives this classic French onion soup a lovely modern twist. You can use sliced sourdough bread, ciabatta or French stock for the melts.
75 ml olive oil
1.25 kg red onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
150 ml red wine
1.5 Litres good quality beef stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
50 g butter, softened
6 large sourdough bread or ciabatta slices
100 g Camembert, thinly sliced
75 g Gruyere, grated
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onions, garlic, thyme, and a little salt and pepper over a low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the onions are well caramelized.
Add the wine and reduce by half, then stir in the stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes until rich and flavourful. Add the parsley and adjust seasonings to taste.
Butter one side of the sourdough or ciabatta slices. Layer the Camembert and grated Gruyere over the non buttered side of 3 slices. Top butter-side up with the remaining slices. Press firmly but gently together.
Place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the sandwiches and top with a piece of foil. Weigh the slices down with a second pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side until the bread is crisp and golden and the cheese melted.
Spoon the soup into bowls. Cut each sourdough slice in half and serve alongside the soup.
Tip: you can make the soup a day ahead and keep in the fridge, giving it even more flavour.
Beef with salt roasted celeriac and walnut Gorgonzola pesto
1 large celeriac, trimmed (about 1kg)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1kg piece beef filet
100g walnut pieces
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
2 tbs green olives
2 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
55g gorgonzola cheese
2 cups Autumn salad leaves, such as radicchio, red oak leaf, red chicory
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 200c/180c fan-forced and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Make the pesto. Place the walnuts, parsley, olives, anchovies and some pepper in a food processor and blend until smooth. Blend in the oil, half the balsamic vinegar and then stir in the gorgonzola. Season to taste and set aside.
Peel the celeriac and cut in half, then cut each half into 1 cm thick slices. Combine the oil and salt and rub all over the celeriac pieces. Arrange on the prepared tray and roast for 30 minutes until charred and softened.
Meanwhile, season the beef fillet. Heat an oven-proof frying pan over a high heat and when hot add the beef. Sear for 5 minutes until browned all over. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes.
Cut the beef into 6 thick steaks and arrange on a second baking tray. Spoon the pesto onto each steak and return to the oven for 5 minutes until the beef is cooked perfectly and the pesto golden.
Divide the celeriac between plates and top with the beef steaks. Spoon over any pan juices and serve with some mixed salad leaves.
With winter well and truly taking hold here, I start to yearn for spring and all things green. Well luckily you don’t really need to wait at all, there are so many delicious winter greens to keep you going until the first shoots of spring announce the beginning of the new growing season, just a few weeks away.
Here are a few of my favourite winter dishes using a selection of cabbages, leeks and spinach.
Kale ribollita with chargrilled sourdough
A hearty spring soup full of green vitality makes the perfect supper dish with slices of chargrilled garlic bruschetta.
Prep time: 1 hour (includes cooking beans)
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Soaking time: overnight
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, 2 chopped 1 left whole
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 large leek, trimmed and sliced
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
500g kale, trimmed and shredded
4-6 slices sourdough bread
For the beans
125g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water
1 onion, quartered
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 sprig fresh rosemary
6 black peppercorns
Start by cooking the beans. Drain the soaked beans, rinse and place in a saucepan with the quartered onion, garlic clove, rosemary stalk and peppercorns. Add 1 litre of cold water and bring to the boil, skimming the surface. Cover and simmer gently over a low heat for 50-55 minutes or until the beans are tender.
Drain the beans, discarding the the onion quarters and rosemary stalk. Transfer half the beans and liquid to a food and puree until smooth. Return to the pan.
Make the soup. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion, garlic, rosemary and a little salt and pepper for 10 minutes until softened. Add the leek, carrot and celery and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, the cooked bean mixture and stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently over a low heat for about 20 minutes until the carrots are tender. Stir in the kale and cook for a further 10 minutes until wilted
Meanwhile, heat a ridged grill pan until hot and grill the sourdough until lightly charred on each side. Cut the remaining garlic clove in half and rub over the toast. Drizzle liberally with extra virgin olive oil. Spoon the soup into bowls and serve topped with the bruschetta.
Quinoa salad with broccoli, preserved lemon and avocado oil
The preserved lemon adds a lovely zing to this salad dish with the combination of dried fruits, nuts and green veg. Perfect for lunch.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour
3 spring onions
1 small avocado
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as coriander and mint
50g dried cherries
30g pumpkin seeds, toasted
4 tablespoons avocado or extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, squeezed juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon
2 teaspoons honey
salt and pepper
Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain well. Heat a frying pan until hot, add the wet quinoa and stir over a high heat, firstly until dry and then continue for a further 1-2 minutes until lightly toasted and starting to crackle.
Add 450ml cold water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pan. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer over a very low heat for 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat but leave undisturbed for a further 5 minutes. If there is any liquid remaining drain through a sieve and leave to cool.
Trim the broccoli, discarding the stalk and cut into florets. Place in a steamer and cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes until al dente. Remove and let cool.
In a bowl, lightly whisk the oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, the preserved lemon, honey and some salt and pepper.
Combine the quinoa, broccoli, spring onions, pumpkin seeds and cherries. Add the avocado and herbs and toss together. Add the dressing, stir well.
Tip: if you prefer serve this salad warm, rather than allowing the quinoa and broccoli to cool completely.
Orecchiette with softened spinach, Dolcelatte and hazelnuts
A classic combination of spinach and dolcelatte cheese is given a modern twist with the addition of toasted hazelnuts
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lemon, grated zest
500g spinach leaves, washed
50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
350g dried orecchiette pasta
150g dolcelatte cheese
4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
salt and pepper
freshly grated Parmesan, to serve
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or saucepan and gently fry the shallots, garlic, lemon zest and a little salt and pepper over a low heat for 5 minutes until softened. Add the spinach leaves and stir well, then cook over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes until wilted.
Melt the butter in a small frying pan and add the hazelnuts. Stir over a medium-low heat until the nuts and butter turn a lovely nutty brown colour.
Meanwhile plunge the pasta into a large saucepan of lightly salted, boiling water and cook for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain well reserving 3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Return the pasta and liquid to the pan.
Stir in the spinach mixture, dolcelatte, mascarpone and all the Parmesan. Stir well over a low heat for 1 minute until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. Divide between bowls and serve topped with the hazelnut butter and some extra, freshly grated Parmesan.
Baked savoy cabbage with Emmental and breadcrumbs
A fabulous way to bake cabbages in a creamy, cheesy sauce topped with crispy breadcrumbs and Parmesan. You can use any cheese you like.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
1 medium savoy cabbage. About 650g
25g butter, plus extra for greasing
1 whole nutmeg
500ml single cream
150g Emmental, grated
50g freshly made breadcrumbs
25g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200c/400f/ gas mark 6 and grease a 2.5 litre baking tin with a little butter. Remove any really large tough outer leaves from the cabbage and very carefully cut into 6 wedges making sure you cut through the stalk so that the wedges remain attached at the base.
Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Add the cabbage wedges and blanch for 4-5 minutes until vibrant green. Using tongs or a slotted spoon remove the cabbage from the pan. Shake off excess liquid and drain on kitchen towel.
Arrange the wedges in the prepared baking tin. Season with freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper and dot over the remaining butter. Scatter the Emmental between the cabbage pressing some down into the leaves and pour over the cream. Scatter over the breadcrumbs and the Parmesan and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30-25 minutes until bubbling and golden.