Chilled Courgette & Yoghurt Soup


I’ve never really been a soup person. I think this stems back to living in shared houses when someone would always make a vegetable soup with all the leftover rubbery carrots and cabbage cores that had been quietly seeing out their final weeks in the salad drawer. This ‘soup’ would always end up too thick – a vegetable sludge – which is down to the fact that everyone, when they first make a soup, thinks that it’s just about sticking everything in a pot and then blending it up. The novice soup maker has no care for the balance of flavours in the soup, nor the consistency of it. We’ve all made that vat of murky brown/green paste and been stuck with it for a week. If you’re a student then it’s preferable to leave it in the fridge for months until the smell is reminiscent of The Bog of Eternal Stench. Finally, someone else throws it away. That involves a combination of forcing down the sink (it’s too solid) and dribbling into the bin (it’s too liquid). I am scarred.

Only certain hot soups are acceptable to me now (tomato, French onion, bisque) but I am very much into most of the cold ones (gazpacho, ajo blanco and all those that fall into the yoghurt category).

This soup uses courgettes, as you’ve probably gathered. It’s light, summery, fresh and cooling. You can warm it gently though if you prefer, particularly since the weather is so unpredictable. A few edible flowers (chives, pansies) on top would look very pretty as a garnish if you have them.

Chilled Courgette and Yoghurt Soup (serves 4-6)

Approx. 1kg courgettes halved, seeds removed and diced
3 shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
300ml good chicken stock
3-4 tablespoons whole fat natural yoghurt
Olive oil and chives, to garnish

Sweat the shallots in a little oil until translucent, then add crushed garlic and spices. Cook for a few mins, stirring. Add the courgettes, then cook on a medium heat until softened. Add the stock and cook briefly until it smells awesome. Season with salt and pepper.

Blitz in a food processor (you know the rules here, right? Don’t put too much in at once). Allow to cool, then add the yoghurt. Blitz again, then pass through a sieve. When fully chilled, check the seasoning again, ladle into bowls, garnish with a dribble of olive oil and the chives, snipped. Serve.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Lee July 18, 2015 at 11:17 am

    The yearly allotment glut is underway, this sounds like a sensible solution.

  • Avatar
    Reply Sue July 18, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Bit confused by the tablespoon of chilli flakes – why is the soup still pale green, and not orange? I add them all the time, but they do tend to muddy fresh colours.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen July 18, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      Sorry, it was meant to say 1 teaspoon. Hope that clears up the confusion.

  • Avatar
    Reply Kapsy July 20, 2015 at 7:00 am

    I often serve my soups with a dollop of thick Greek yogurt in the middle of the bowl. For your soup, I’d recommend that you temper it with crackling mustard seeds in a bit of clarifies butter and a whole dried red chilli. I’m sure that you’ll be very pleasantly surprised

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen July 20, 2015 at 7:28 am

      How lovely. Thanks for the suggestion Kapsy.

  • Avatar
    Reply Lizzie July 20, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    I’m a bit weird with cold soup. I’ve only really just got round to gazpacho, but I love it and I love salmorejo too. Maybe my education is beginning!

    This looks great – and I always underestimate how much the olive oil drizzle contributes to the flavour of a soup – it’s LOADS.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen July 20, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      I used to be MEGA WEIRD with cold soup too. I think I’m going to work on this one a bit, see where it takes me. I agree, the drizzle of oil is essential.

    • Avatar
      Reply misspiggy July 24, 2015 at 3:25 am

      I got cured of cold soup avoidance by white peanut soup in Kunming, China – the most otherworldly deliciousness I’d ever tasted.

      Come to think of it, Kunming would be right up this blog’s street. Needs a local to negotiate the staggering variety of dishes and produce – every restaurant seems to offer a completely independent set of dishes – but Helen I hope you get to try it sometime!

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