Rustic Polenta & Vegetable Soup
The temperatures have become so drastically cold again, that it wasn't possible for me to consider anything BUT a soup this evening! There is nothing more comforting on a cold dark night after a long hard day!
All the way home, I couldn't help thinking what it must be like to live somewhere that does not have central heating- say out in the country in Sicily or Italy... and of course the thing that struck me was that at least they would know how to eat to keep away those Winter blues... possibly even something like this...
With just some simple, basic vegetables, I managed to rustle-up this delicious and comforting soup in next to no time. Basically, it is just a freshly made vegetable broth, thickened with a few spoonfuls of polenta- but that is all that you need, trust me!
I started out with some root vegetables- finely diced celeriac and coarsely chopped celery stalk and carrot, which I briefly sautéed in a little olive oil with some crushed garlic- I did this to get an intense flavor base for the soup as a starting point. After 3-4 minutes, I added enough boiling water to cover the vegetables and let them simmer on for 5-6 minutes longer. In the meantime, I chopped up a little red and yellow bell pepper, a good handful of parsley- including the stalks of course- that's where all of the good flavor is!
I added the peppers and parsley and then topped everything up with more boiling water, reduced the heat to a simmer again and let it continue boiling for a further 5-6 minutes... in which time I cleaned and chopped some mushrooms and cherry tomatoes- they were next in line- along with 2-3 tablespoons of polenta- these all went in next, along with a little grated nutmeg, a pinch of cayenne, a splash of olive oil and a tiny squeeze of lemon and the handful of sliced leek. I let the soup simmer for a good 9-10 minutes, my which time the vegetables were nice and tender, the broth was good and tasty and the polenta had thickened everything nicely to make it thick and hearty and delicious!
The finishing touches were a sprinkle of coarsely ground black pepper, a scattering of fresh, chopped chives and a drizzle of olive oil... so warming and sooo good! Natural central folks! Try it- and you'll like it! Enjoy!