Housewife of the Week: Essentials

Ingredients Serves 2 2 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, diced into large pieces 1 clove garlic, crushed 2 medium carrots, diced into large pieces 2 celery sticks, diced into large pieces 2 bay leaves, chopped 1 tsp black peppercorns 1 tsp smoked paprika 1 litre chicken stock 1 tsp mustard seed 1/2 tsp dry mustard 1 1/2 lbs slab bacon, chopped Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper Cooked bread crumbs for coating and garnish 1 bunch parsley, chopped 1. Oil a 3/4 quart pot large enough to hold the stock in a single layer. 2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. 3. Add the onion, garlic and carrots, stirring constantly to maintain colour. 4. Stir in the celery and bay leaves, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables start to soften. 5. Add the peppercorns, paprika and mustard seed. Cook for two minutes. 6. Pour in the stock, stirring frequently. 7. Use a wooden spoon to mix the soup as it comes up to the surface, then cover the pot and turn the heat to high. 8. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 2 1/2 hours, until the soup is thickened. 9. Meanwhile, prepare the meat: cook the bacon in a large, heavy frying pan over a medium heat, turning until it is browned and cooked through. Remove the bacon and reserve. 10. Season the soup and transfer to a blender with the remaining ingredients. 6. Blitz the soup until smooth and thick, then serve with grilled bread, a dollop of parsley mayonnaise and a little chopped parsley on top. This soup is like good comfort food – tasty and nourishing.

Serve this delicious and comforting soup with grilled bread, a dollop of parsley mayonnaise and a little chopped parsley on top

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