Autumn is upon us and it’s too cold to shop. Here are some easy soups you can make with stuff that's already in your kitchen cupboards …
Sopa de ajo
The ultimate in store cupboard soups, sopa de ajo (or spanish garlic soup) is the kind of the thing that you can make even if your cupboards look completely bare and the prospect of making it outside in the pouring rain is totally unappealing.
Recipes vary, but they all centre around big plump cloves of garlic cooked in oil with smoked paprika, then drowned in chicken stock and served with a poached egg. Sounds mad, but tastes absolutely delicious. Locals also believe it can cure the common cold. Bonus.
Pared-down French onion soup
Proper French onion soup should have brandy in it and needs to be cooked for hours, but there is a cheat's version that packs just as much of a flavour punch in half the time (and without the bank-busting ingredients).
The key is to prepare yourself by having fresh bay leaves in your freezer and proper liquid-concentrated beef bouillon in your cupboard. Cook a couple of onions on the hob with a knob of butter and the bay leaves until they're a rich, dark colour. Boil a kettle, add it to the onions with the beef bouillon and cook out for 40 minutes or so. This is obviously best served with cheese on top, and lashings of bread.
Frozen carrot soup
Some might turn their nose up at frozen carrots, but more fool them. This is by far the easiest and most flavourful carrot soup we've tried at home, and can be whipped up within a moment's notice.
Chuck carrots and thyme from the freezer into a roasting tin with olive oil and garlic cloves, season well then roast at a high temperature until the edges start to become caramelised. Blitz the whole lot with some chicken or vegetable stock and bob's your uncle. Add some fresh coriander leaves if you must (and if your store cupboard allows).
Leek and potato soup
We are of the firm belief that all winter store cupboards can be improved by the liberal application of leeks. They add an unbeatable sweet, silky, savoury flavour to stews, pasta dishes, pies and, of course, soups that you just can't get with a regular onion.
In this instance, they're the key ingredient for what is surely the king of all autumn soups. Just fry an onion together with a couple of leeks and some cooked diced potatoes (one per person should be fine). Then blitz together in a food processor with some good stock and feel instantly satiated.
Store cupboard lentil soup
This is soup is amazingly hearty and easy as long as you’ve got the soup basics: onions, carrots and celery. Fry those off with some dried chilli and a bit of garlic until everything is soft. Add some bacon if you have it and some dried lentils with chicken stock. Cook the lentils for the maximum time of what your packet suggests (you want them really soft in this soup) and serve with big chunks of bread. Bosh.
This isn't so much a recipe as it is an assembly job of shop-bought ingredients.
Just chuck some good passata in a pan with some olive oil, garlic and chilli flakes and top with chicken or vegetable stock. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes or so. Then add some shop-bought cheesy tortellini and frozen spinach in the pan, allow to cook and you're good to go. Stir in some shop-bought pesto if you're feeling flush.
Pea and pesto soup
You can make this soup using a entire bag of frozen peas so that you can take extra to work for lunch (it also freezes really well).
Tip a 800g bag of frozen peas into some stock (chicken or vegetable) along with four diced potatoes (these don't need peeling). When they're soft, take off the heat and stir in some shop-bought pesto. Simples.
Pappa al pomodoro
This is a great way of using up any over-ripe tomatoes and stale bread you've got lingering around, but has the added bonus of being insanely delicious.
Chop up any leftover fresh tomatoes and fry them with a couple of cloves of minced garlic and chilli flakes in some olive oil. When they've softened a bit, add a tin of tomatoes and a tin of water, turn down the heat and simmer for about half an hour with some basil leaves and salt and pepper. Then tear in chunks of leftover bread and allow to simmer until everything is soft and scrummy. Finish with a few lugs of really good olive oil. It's a favourite in Italy for good reason.
Chorizo bean soup
Chorizo is one of those super hero things that can make even the most boring of ingredients – in this case, beans and tinned tomatoes cooked into a stock – into something that packs a serious flavour punch.
Tinned sweetcorn soup
This soup is good and chunky. It's made by frying onion and chunks of potato with some garlic and a tin of sweetcorn (don't knock it until you've tried it). Add some stock and some double cream if you're feeling super fancy and enjoy with some cheese on toast. Properly yum.
What would you say if we told you this was a good recipe to use up those stale tortillas you have hanging around after a party? You'd judge us wouldn't you? Well, we care not, because this soup is like a hug from the inside.
There are legitimate tortilla soups, which you're more than welcome to make from scratch – this is an American recipe FYI – but in the name of store cupboard living, we simply recommend chucking some tortilla chips into shop-bought soup. It may sound crazy, but your world is about to be changed. It's store cupboard cooking at its most lazy.
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