Occasionally mum will get so excited by a recipe that she’ll either cut it from a paper or magazine and post it or she’ll text it to me. She is a very good collector of good recipes and has boxes and folders full of clippings and cuttings or notes in her own hand. Bits of cardboard packaging or cereal boxes have been written on over the years so that there is now an incredible hoard of recipes. This pea and courgette soup in a bread bowl is one of those recipes. She called me the other day enthusing on how creamy it tasted yet didn’t contain any cream and she’s absolutely right, it’s a very light and delicate soup with a wonderfully creamy texture. The bread bowls are my additions because, well who doesn’t love a bowl made of bread?
The bread bowls take a good 2 hours to make so you may want to make them well in advance, they even freeze well. You can eat the soup warm but its also incredible served chilled from the fridge, which also takes a while so this dish really is a ‘make-ahead’ meal.
for the bread bowls
- 400g strong white bread flour
- 200g wholemeal flour
- 1 packet quick action dried yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 400ml warm water
- 1 large free-range egg – beaten with a dash of milk
for the soup
- 150g spring onions – chopped
- 500g courgettes – chopped
- 2 garlic cloves – crushed
- 200 g frozen peas
- 1 litre good quality vegetable stock
Start with the bread bowls. Place all the ingredients (apart from the egg) into a bowl and bring together until you have a shaggy mess. Knead this well for 10 mins, either by hand on a lightly floured work surface or in a stand mixer with a dough hook.
Lightly oil a large bowl and once your dough has been kneaded for 10 mins, place the dough in the bowl and cover with clingfilm. Let it prove for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Prepare a large baking tray with a layer of baking parchment and then when your dough has doubled, remove the clingfilm (set it aside for later) and divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. (You can weight them but I do it by eye.) Form the pieces into balls. You can either roll these on a work surface but I prefer to hold them in my oiled hands and gently tuck each ball in on itself until it forms a tight ball, then I place each ball onto the baking tray. 2 rows of three. Cover with oiled clingfilm and set aside for 30 mins. You can either cook these after 30 mins or they can spend a few hours, even overnight in the fridge where their flavour and texture will dramatically improve.
When you’re ready to cook, heat the oven to 200C. Brush the top of the bowls with the beaten egg and milk wash. Bake the bread for 30 mins or until golden and crispy on top and they make a hollow sound when tapped. Remove them from the oven and place them on a cooling rack for at least an hour or until cold.
To make the soup, place a large pan on a medium heat and melt some butter and a little olive oil.
Add the spring onions and garlic and gently sweat until soft – roughly 6 mins, then add the courgettes and peas and again let them sweat until soft. Add some salt and pepper when you add the courgettes.
Once your veg are all soft or on their way, add the stock and let them bubble gently in the stock for 10 mins.
Remove from heat and let them cool for 10 mins, then liquidise until totally smooth.
If you’re serving this warm then the soup can be reheated at this stage, if you’re serving is cold then pop it into a container and into the fridge for at leats an hour – overnight is better.
To prepare the bread bowls, cut a circle into the top of the buns, like you would with a pumpkin, and remove the ‘lid’, then scoop out the doughy flesh (set this aside for dipping into the soup.) Place the bread bowl onto a plate or a shallow bowl and pour in the soup to serve.
Eat and of course, enjoy!