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Caramelised Swede & Cardamom Soup. Serves 6/8.

From Gordon Ramsey

3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
Few sprigs of thyme
30g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6-8 cardamom pods
2 Swedes, peeled and chopped into small pieces
2 tbsp honey
1.5-2 litres hot chicken stock
150ml double cream
Grating of nutmeg, to serve.

1 Heat a large pan with the olive oil. Stir in the onion and celery and cook for a couple of minutes, add the thyme and a few knobs of butter and the seasoning.
2 Crush the cardamom pods with the back of a knife and add to the onions and celery. Sweat the onions for five more minutes until soft and translucent, but not browned.
3Stir in the chopped swede and cover the pan with a lid, this will encourage condensation and prevent the onions from burning. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the Swedes have softened and the vegetables look clear.
4 Remove the lid and drizzle over the honey, cook for another 5 minutes to slightly caramelise the vegetables. Pour in enough hot chicken stock to cover the vegetablesand let simmer for 5 more minutes. Stir in the cream and adjust the seasoning.
5 In batches, liquidise the soup in a blender until really smooth, adding a few knobs of butter for a smooth velvety finish. ( When liquidising the hot soup, fill the blender no more than half full and release one corner of the lid. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then blend on high speed until smooth. This will prevent the vacuum effect that causes heat explosions). Pass the soup through a fine sieve, pushing down with the back of a ladle, and discard the solids.
6 Reheat the soup and adjust the consistency, adding more cream to thicken, or more hot stock to thin down. Season again to taste and serve in warm bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and a grating of nutmeg.

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Last updated: 17/02/08