Call it minestrone, chowder or pho, this season’s hot-food trend is as old as the hills. Soup by any name is back in style, driven by back-to-basics bone broth that’s every foodie’s answer to summer’s green juice.

“Call it the backbone of your soup, ” wholefood cook and author Jude Blereau said.


“I like to use free-range — organic if possible — chicken wings and especially feet because they’re the bits which are full of gelatine and that’s what you’re after.


“Ideally, you should throw them in a pot and brown slowly with no fat, then cover with water and simmer for at least six hours with something acidic, such as vinegar or white wine, to extract the nutrients from the bone. For eight wings, I’d use one-to-two teaspoons of apple cider or white vinegar, or one-to- two tablespoons of white wine, and add a bay leaf, carrot and thyme.


“Otherwise, you can make a vegetable base with wakame or, preferably, kombu — a 5cm piece works well in a 3-litre pot — and I like to add four dried shitake mushrooms to boost flavour.”


Nourishing and hearty, soup is the ultimate comfort food and simplicity is the key to making it.


“When you’re hungry, nothing beats the old favourites and the key is to use seasonal ingredients, ” Blereau said.


“Ham hock and split pea is a family favourite but I love pumpkin soup with fennel and pear, or even pureed parsnip and pear soup this time of year.”


For chef Sophie Budd, from Taste Budds Cooking Studio, you can’t beat potato and leek with loads of white pepper and fresh bread rolls.


“It reminds me of cold days at catering college, ” she said.


“Soups are so easy to make and so good for the soul. Sweating the onion and garlic first and getting a bit of colour gives sweetness to the soup.”


Fremantle’s Capri restaurant has been serving minestrone made to a time- honoured recipe that hasn’t changed since it opened 61 years ago.


Come for dinner and it’s on the house as a complimentary first course but many people prefer to order it as a meal.


“It’s made in several stages, ” the restaurant’s Gloria Pizzale said. “We put on the stock first thing in the morning using chicken and beef bones because that’s what we have on hand.”


Vegetables — onions, celery, carrot, cabbage and silverbeet — are chopped and cooked separately in olive oil with tomato paste, borlotti beans are boiled for a few hours, then everything is tipped into the stock and left on the stove to simmer. Tiny pasta tubes are added last.


“It’s the way my grandfather made it, so we’ve kept it the same, ” she said.


© The West Australian

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