‘What is a cupboard vegetable?’ I hear you ask. Exactly what it says it is: any vegetables you have in the cupboard, that are a little past their best but not quite ready for the compost heap or the green waste recycling bin. I find the best are root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, but if you want to use up some tomatoes or mushrooms, then go ahead. It really doesn’t matter.
Anything you have in the cupboard, including but not essential, or indeed limited to:
Potatoes (but not New ones)
One medium onion, or more if you want an oniony flavour.
One vegetable stock cube
More Optional Ingredients
One small tin of sweet corn, drained.
If you are using carrots and/or parsnips, peel and roughly chop, and pre-heat the oven to its highest setting. Then coat in your choice of oil (I tend to use sunflower, but it’s up to you) then spread out on a roasting tin. Place on the top shelf for at least 25 minutes, or until browned. Some may have turned a little black, but that’s fine – it all adds to the flavour.
Now, while they are roasting, peel your potatoes and chop into small pieces, about half an inch, or 1.5cm square, and put in a large saucepan. Then peel and chop the onion(s), put in enough water to just cover the veg, and sprinkle the stock cube into the pan.
If you have anything like swede that takes longer to cook than potatoes do, then you need to get that going beforehand.
Bring the pan to the boil, and simmer for around 8 minutes, then take a knife and check whether the potatoes are cooked. The knife should go in without much resistance. If they’re not, then just keep cooking for a couple more minutes and check again.
By the time the potatoes are done, the carrots should have changed colour, and should also be soft. Tip them in with the potatoes (don’t worry if any oil goes in as well).
Then, if you have a blender or food processor, you need to get it out. With a ladle, put some of the veg together with some of the cooking water into the blender, and blitz it until smooth. Or not until smooth, if you like a few lumpy bits in your soup. It really is up to you. Pour what you have done so far into a jug or bowl, then do the same with the rest of the veg and water, until it is all blended, then put it all back in the saucepan.
Now, if you want to make it a little like a chowder, tip in a small can of sweet corn. Or, if you don’t, then don’t.
I don’t tend to season this soup, as I find the stock cube can give it a salty taste, but if you want to then again it’s entirely up to you.
Alternatively, you could add a little grated nutmeg.
Serve in bowls with a chunk of the homemade bread, and you can sit there smugly, knowing that you are eating 100% pure food, with no additives. And you can tell your friends how clever you are.