…courgettes and more

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Courgette soup with feta and mint

Cooking time 30 minutes

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 10ml vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1–2kg large courgettes, cut into big chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Sprig thyme
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 15g mint, finely chopped
  • 100g feta
  • Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest 1 unwaxed lemon
  • Chive flowers, to garnish (optional)

Method

This simple soup tastes outstanding and when you have courgettes coming out of your ears, it feels like an achievement to eat so many in one go. Anyone can make it and it freezes well too.

Gently heat the oil in your largest saucepan. Add the onions, garlic and courgettes with a generous sprinkling of salt.

Cover with a lid just smaller than the pan, so it rests on the mountain of courgettes, pressing them down.

Keep the heat low and allow to cook for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, so that all the courgette chunks get a turn at being at the bottom. Add the bay leavers and the sprig of thyme and allow to cook gently for a further ten minutes. Pour in the lemon juice, then replace the lid for about 15 minutes. The courgette chunks will start to break down and release their moisture.

When all the courgettes have softened, there will be a considerable amount of liquid in the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and liquidise the contents until the soup is smooth. The courgette skins will create dark speckles, making a great visual contrast to the almost luminous paler green.

Stir the mint into the soup before serving in individual bowls.

Crumble a small handful of feta into the middle of each bowl, drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil and finish with the lemon zest and a scattering of chive flowers, if you are using them.

Ruth’s Magic Velvet Courgette Soup

Ingredients:

Any size courgette, these quantities are loosely based on an overgrown courgette, say around 12 inches long.

I standard size Boursin Garlic and Herb cream cheese

1 ½ pints stock, chicken, vegetable or tap water

Method:

Top and tail the courgette. No need to peel. If the courgette has developed seeds in the middle, remove them and discard. Chop the courgette roughly, and throw into a suitable saucepan, and add the stock. Bring to the boil, and simmer till the courgette chunks are tender, say 10-15 minutes.

Now throw in the Boursin, smash it about a bit, and then go in with a stick blender.

Adjust seasoning to taste.

Done!