hot and sour marrow soup

i’m not having much luck with my vegetable-growing efforts this year. we started off with two courgette plants, one of which died after an initial spurt of growth and a few courgettes, and the other hasn’t done particularly well either – i think we’ve had about 5 courgettes all summer. equally disappointing, is the fact that the tomato plants, which have been growing beautifully and are laden with fruit that is just starting to turn orange, turn out to be producing fruit that was no flavour and a mealy texture (they are unlabelled french seeds which i bought after being disappointed by gardener’s delight the year previously). meh.

however, one of david’s colleagues very generously provided us with an enormous yellow marrow which, in part, went into making this fabulous hot and sour marrow soup, which a friend had recommended.

the recipe is quite forgiving – you can use courgettes or marrows and i added 50% more marrow then the recipe demands, with no ill-effect (it’s flavour is so subtle the rest of the flavours remained in balance and given it is quite a watery vegetable the texture was unaffected as well).

the hot comes from chillies and ginger and the sour from lemon, zest, lemon juice and fish sauce. it’s the ginger, lemon and fish sauce combination which make this soups so delicious, and it’s something i’d like to try in other versions, a butternut squash one being the obvious starting point.

hot and sour marrow soup* (serves 4-6)

30g butter

1 large, or two smaller onions. finely chopped

400g marrow or large courgettes (i used c650g), peeled, deseeded and cut into 1cm pieces

2 large carrots, peeled and grated

2.5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped

1 pint of stock (i used vegetable stock, you could also use chicken)

1 tablespoon chopped coriander

zest and juice of a lemon

1 tablespoon of thai fish sauce, or to taste (omit and use extra lemon if you are cooking for veggies)

melt the butter in a large pan and add the onion and marrow, frying until the onions turns  a pale golden colour, stirring regularly. take care to keep the onions from burning as this will impair the flavour. add the carrots and fry gently for a further two minutes, stirring all the time. add the ginger and chilli and cook for another minute or two.

add the stock. bring to simmer, lower the heat and cover – leave to cook for 30-40 mins, until the vegetables are tender. blitz the soup in a blender (you can keep some unblitzed if you want a chunkier texture). add the lemon zest and juice plus the fish sauce then season to taste (you will probably only need pepper). serve garnished with the coriander.

* adapted from this recipe