Winter is here! And unlike the characters of Game of Thrones who had to battle white walkers and dragons, we are the real characters of life, battling viruses, the impending cold and a hungry family! So, welcome to Afropolitan's recommended soups for your troupe. 

T-O-M Soup aka Tomato Alphabet Soup 

Teach your kids their ABCs while enjoying flavourful and nutritious soup!

Winter is here! And unlike the characters of Game of Thrones who had to battle white walkers and dragons, we are the real characters of life, battling viruses, the impending cold and a hungry family! So, welcome to Afropolitan's recommended soups for your troupe. 

Time to prepare: 30 minutes

Time to cook: 40 minutes

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

1 diced onion

2 minced garlic cloves

400g crushed tomatoes (tinned is fine)

500ml vegetable or chicken broth

Salt and pepper

½ cup alphabet or other small pasta

Fresh chives

125ml heavy cream (optional)

Directions

1. Add butter or oil to a medium pot over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until translucent.

2. Add crushed tomatoes and stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low after 10 minutes.

3. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta for about 6 minutes or according to directions. Drain pasta and drizzle with a tiny amount of olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking. Set aside.

4. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor for a smooth consistency.

5. Add heavy cream to the pureed soup just before serving.

6. Add a heaped tablespoon of pasta to each bowl. Sprinkle chopped chives on top and serve.

Roasted Butternut Soup

The secret is in the pre-roasting and seasoning of the butternut. Don't cut corners here.

Serving: 8

Time to prepare: 10 minutes

Time to cook: 55 minutes

Ingredients

2 large butternuts, halved vertically and seeds removed

2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 cup chopped shallots

2 teaspoons salt

4 pressed garlic cloves

2 teaspoons maple syrup

Pinch ground nutmeg

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1.8 litres of vegetable broth

4 tablespoons butter, to taste

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place the butternut on the pan and drizzle each half with just enough olive oil to lightly coat the butternut on the inside. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Turn the squash face down and roast until tender and completely cooked through (about 40 to 50 minutes). Don’t worry if the skin browns – that’s good for flavour. Set the butternut aside until cool enough to handle.

4. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped shallots and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the shallot has softened and is starting to turn golden on the edges.

5. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring frequently. 

6. Transfer the contents to your stand blender. Use a large spoon to scoop the butternut into your blender. Discard the tough skin. Add the maple syrup, nutmeg and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Pour in the vegetable broth, being careful not to fill the container past the maximum fill line (you can work in batches, if necessary, and stir in any remaining broth later).

7. Securely fasten the lid. Blend on high. Stop once your soup is ultra-creamy and warmed through.

8. If you would like to thin your soup, stir in the remaining cup of broth. Add 4 tablespoons of butter or olive oil to taste and blend well. Taste and stir in more salt and pepper, if necessary.

Lasagne Soup

Goes further as a soup, but just as delicious as a real meal.

Serving: 8

Time to prepare: 20 minutes

Time to cook: 30 minutes

Ingredients

500g lean ground beef 

1 chopped large green pepper

2 sticks celery

1 chopped medium onion

2 minced garlic cloves

2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained

500ml beef broth

350g tomato sauce

1 cup frozen corn

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 sheets uncooked lasagne pasta

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. In a large saucepan, cook beef, green pepper, celery (diced) and onion over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until meat is no longer pink, breaking up beef into crumbles. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.

2. Stir in tomatoes, broth, tomato sauce, corn, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Bring to a boil. 

3. Stir in pasta sheets of lasagne pasta. Return to a boil. After 2 minutes, reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until pasta is tender.

4. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Chowder in Bread Bowls aka Clam Chowder Soup in Homemade Bread Bowl

Who needs crockery when you can bake it?

Serving: 8

Time to prepare: 20 minutes

Time to cook: 50 minutes

Ingredients

3 cans tinned clams

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced celery

2 cups cubed potatoes

1 cup diced carrots

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 litre thick cream

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

1. Drain juice from clams into a large skillet.

2. Cover the onions, celery, potatoes and carrots with water and cook over medium heat until tender.

3. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Whisk in cream and stir constantly until thick and smooth.

4. Stir in vegetables and clam juice. Heat through, but do not boil.

5. Stir in clams just before serving. If they cook too much, they will get rubbery. When clams are heated through, stir in vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.

Bread Bowls 

An added bonus!

Ingredients

Yeast: We use active dry yeast to make bread bowl dough. 

Water: 2 and 1/4 cups is the perfect amount. Use warm water to cut down on rise time, about 45°C. Anything over 54ºC kills the yeast.

Sugar: 2 teaspoons of sugar “feed” the yeast which create carbon dioxide bubbles and allow the dough to rise.

Salt and oil: Salt and extra virgin olive oil add incredible and necessary flavour.

Bread flour: Bread flour contains a lot of protein which helps form a chewier, more dense, and, well, more bread-like bread. We want a strong and crusty bread for our bread bowls and bread flour will help us achieve that.

Directions

1. Mix the dough ingredients together. You can use a mixer or do this by hand. The dough should be thick, yet soft– and only slightly sticky.

2. Form the dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a big ball and place it into a large, greased bowl. Cover the bowl and let dough rise in a warm environment until it doubles in size, approximately 90 minutes.

3. After the dough has risen, punch down the dough and place it onto a lightly-floured surface.

4. Cut the dough into six even pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place the six balls onto the prepared baking sheets – three dough balls per sheet.

5. Lightly brush the tops of each dough ball with egg wash and use a sharp knife to score an ‘X’ into the tops of each. 

6. Bake the bread bowls for about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut a large round out of the top of each bread bowl. Scoop out the centre – but save the centre to dunk into soup – and fill soup bowl with Clam Chowder.

One for the kids... Octopus Soup aka Potato and Meatball Soup

Mom! There's an octopus in my soup!

Serving: 8

Time to prepare: 30 minutes

Time to cook: 30 minutes

Ingredients

2 finely diced onions
400g minced beef
2 medium egg yolks

2 tablespoons cottage cheese
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2kg peeled and diced potatoes
800g diced carrots

2 litre vegetable stock
2 trimmed and very thinly sliced leeks

Directions

1. Mix the beef, onions, egg yolks, cottage cheese and paprika until well blended. Season. Using wet hands to form into 40 mini meatballs.

2. Heat the oil in a thick-walled cooking pot on medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, turning to brown. Remove from the pan.

3. Add the potatoes and carrots to the pan and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 to15 minutes.

4, Remove 1/3 of the potatoes and carrots using a slotted spoon and set aside. Puree the remaining soup in the pan using a hand blender.

5. Place the leeks and meatballs into the soup. Bring to a boil on medium heat and cook for 4 to 6 minutes until cooked through. Return the reserved vegetables to the soup and season.

6. Final decoration: Add some pre-cooked noodles for the octopus "legs" and a mielie kernel with a black dot will do well as an eye!

Enjoy!