|a witches brew soup|
Inspired by the classic Shakespearean quotation from Macbeth's famous culinary weird sisters, I wanted to do something both amusing and suitably grotesque with a green soup, that might appeal to children. Well all I can say is I know it made me laugh . . .
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing.
|my coloured "intestines" - bucatini pasta|
It probably didn't help that I was cackling delightedly with unholy glee as I stirred the pot. Perhaps a little unnerving for some people?
Fortunately, once the timorous audience were brave enough to taste the soup, they agreed that it really was a very nice pea and chorizo soup but possibly the pink "intestines" was a step too far!
Serves ... as few as you can persuade to try it!
Skill level: Easy
600g fresh or frozen peas, or a mixture of both
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of sugar (optional)
150g cured chorizo, sliced (about the thickness of a pound coin)
pasta "intestines" (see tips below)
carrot shapes, blanched
mushroom "skulls" (see tips below)
- Gently fry the onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until softened but not browned (about 10 to 15 minutes).
- Add the garlic, stir and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the peas, stock and herbs. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Take off the heat and check the seasoning, which will be dependent on how salty and peppery your stock is.
- Add a pinch of sugar and stir. This helps to bring out the natural sweetness of the peas, although you may not need it.
- Set aside to cool slightly.
- Purée in a food processor or using a blender. It doesn't matter too much if you soup is quite lumpy; it adds to the gruesome look!
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Gently fry the chorizo until crisp on each side. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, reserving the oil.
- Reheat the soup with the chorizo, pasta "intestines,"* carrots shapes and mushroom "skulls."*
- Drizzle over a little of the oil that the chorizo was cooked in. (Since the chorizo is full of spices, it will have coloured the oil a vibrant red-orange colour). This all just adds to the overall "witches brew" effect.
- Serve in a cauldron if you have one!
- The pasta is simply made by cooking the pasta of your choice according to the instructions on the packet. I used bucatini, a thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole that runs through it. As they cook they expand to long thin tubes - perfect intestines, or so I thought! Drain and refresh with cold water. Leave to drain until they have cooled and are as dry as possible. Tip into a Ziploc bag. Add about 1 teaspoon of edible food dye (I found pink was the most effective colour, although I tried yellow and blue as well.) Massage well to ensure that the food dye has coated all the strands of pasta. Set aside for about 2 hours. Rinse under cold running water and drain again. They are now ready to use.
- To make a mushroom "skull," take a white button mushroom and gouge out 3 holes with the tip of a plastic straw. I find that if you poke the straw through the mushroom to make the "nose" effect, it looks quite spooky! Then take a very sharp knife (I used my Stanley knife) and make 2 slashes lengthways with 3 or 4 vertical slashes - to represent the teeth. I find white mushrooms look more ghastly than brown chestnut mushrooms, although the brown ones taste better.