Some hearty soup recipes to beat the winter chill

A big bowl of soup is the antidote to a miserable cold day. Try these simple recipes for mushroom soup ‘pot pies’, exotic shiitake & chicken noodle broth and more – recipes from Sunday Times Food.


Mixed mushroom soup ‘pot pie’

Mixed mushroom soup ‘pot pie’ Image: Toby Murphy
Creamy mushroom soup topped with a crispy pastry lid that you can break up and dunk into it – genius!

Serves: 4-6


30ml (2 tbsp) butter

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

500g mixed mushrooms (button, portabellini, brown and shiitake), sliced

15ml (1 tbsp) cake flour

1 litre vegetable or chicken stock

5 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

125ml (½ cup) white wine

125ml (½ cup) milk

125ml (½ cup) fresh cream

Salt and black pepper

30ml (2 tbsp) brandy

1 x 400g roll ready-made puff pastry, thawed

1 large egg, beaten


1) Heat the butter in a large pan and fry the onion until soft.

2) Add the garlic and mushrooms and fry till the mushrooms release liquid.

3) Sprinkle the flour over and stir, then add the stock and sage.

4) Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

5) Add the wine, milk and cream, season and heat through.

6) Add the brandy. At this point the soup  can be blended for a smooth soup, or left chunky.

7) Pour the soup into 4-6 ovenproof  soup dishes and preheat the oven to 200°C.

8) Roll out the pastry and cut into discs about 2-3 cm larger than the diameter of the  soup  bowls. Brush the edges of the pastry with water and cover each bowl with a pastry disc, pressing down the edges to seal. Brush the top of the pastry with beaten egg and place the bowls on a baking tray.

9) Bake for 12-15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through. Serve immediately.



Shiitake & chicken noodle broth

Shitake & chicken noodle broth Image: Toby Murphy
This quick and easy Asian soup is packed with big bold flavours

Serves: 4


50g dried shiitake mushrooms

5cm fresh root ginger, peeled and finely sliced

4 spring onions, sliced

2 litres water

10ml (2 tsp) dashi (Japanese stock found in Asian stores — or use any stock powder)

4 chicken breast fillets

200g udon noodles

1-2 fresh chillies, finely sliced

Soy sauce, to taste


1) Place mushrooms in a small bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 20 minutes until plumped up and softened. Drain.

2) Meanwhile, place the ginger and spring onions in a large pan with the water and dashi.

3) Bring to a simmer, then add the chicken breasts. Simmer for 12-15 minutes until the chicken is just cooked through.

4) Remove chicken with a slotted spoon, and when cool enough to handle, shred into chunks.

5) Return to the pot with the soaked mushrooms, noodles and chillies. Cook until noodles are tender and serve with a splash of soy sauce.



Roasted sweet potato & leek soup with honey bacon

Sweet potato soup topped with roasted leeks and honey bacon. Image: Toby Murphy
A topping of honey-roasted bacon gives this filling soup a gourmet touch

Serves: 4-6


3 sweet potatoes, washed

3 leeks, cut in half lengthways

30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 litre vegetable stock

150g bacon

15ml (1 tbsp) honey


1) Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

2) Prick the sweet potatoes a couple of times and bake for 35-40 minutes until soft.

3) Place the leeks on a baking tray and drizzle with half the oil. Bake for 15 minutes until just tender and crisping at the edges.

4) When sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, chop roughly with the skins on.

5) In a large saucepan, heat the remaining oil and fry the onion until translucent.

6) Add the garlic and cook for a minute.

7) Add the sweet potatoes and leeks (reserve a few leeks for serving), pour in stock and mix.

8) Stir and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and blend till smooth.

9) Place the bacon on a baking tray and grill in the oven until crisp.

10) Turn oven to 200ºC, remove bacon and drizzle with honey, then return to the oven and allow to caramelise.

11) Serve the soup hot, topped with reserved roasted leeks and crispy bacon.


Chock-full-of-veggies chicken soup

Chock-full-of-veggies chicken soup. Image: Christoph Hoffmann. Styling: Leila Saffarian
Get more than your 5 a Day in a single bowl! Packed with an array of fresh produce from pumpkin and spinach to leeks and corn, organic farmer Janet Diack’s chicken soup is both delicious and nutritious

Serves: 8

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


1 large free-range chicken

Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil

4 large leeks, roughly sliced

4 stalks celery, roughly sliced

200g pumpkin, peeled and roughly chopped

4 turnips, roughly chopped

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

Juice of ½ a lemon

Large chou-chou (chayote marrow), roughly chopped

Large handful spinach, roughly chopped

150g fresh corn kernels

Chopped fresh coriander or flat-leaf parsley, to serve


1) Place the chicken in a large stockpot and pour enough water over to cover. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the stock and set aside.

2) Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and sauté the leeks and celery until tender. Add leeks and celery to the chicken stock, along with the pumpkin, turnips, sweet potato, canned tomatoes and lemon juice. Season and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

3) Add the chayote, spinach and corn.

4) Remove the skin and bones from the chicken, break the flesh into pieces and add to the soup. Simmer for a further 5 minutes. Serve scattered with fresh chopped coriander or parsley.



Speedy Thai butternut & prawn soup

Speedy Thai butternut & prawn soup. Image: Craig Scott
Quickly give a packet of ready-made butternut soup an exotic makeover by adding prawns, Thai red curry paste and coconut milk

Serves: 4-6


200ml coconut milk

15ml (1 tbsp) Thai red curry paste

1 stalk lemon grass, bruised

1 x 600g sachet ready-made fresh  butternut  soup

250g prawns, deveined and peeled

10ml (2 tsp) fish sauce

Zest and juice of 1 lime

Salt and black pepper

Fresh coriander, chopped, to serve


1) Place the coconut milk and red curry paste in a large pan and stir over a medium heat until combined.

2) Add the lemon grass and butternut soup, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

3) Add the prawns, fish sauce, lime zest and juice and seasoning. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Serve garnished with coriander.

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