This soup is not the most glamourous of foods, but is something I always make when I have lots of odds and ends floating around as it's great for using them all up and tastes delicious in the process! It's not too heavy, the veg provides a helpful winter immune system boost and it fills you up in the same way any hearty meal would! I'd definitely recommend it for cozy winter's nights beside the fire, or as in my case, as a last ditched attempt to stay warm in a freezing student house- I'm already wrapped up in fifty blankets and my (equally un-glamourous) fluffy pink dressing gown so this will hopefully tip the balance!
As I've already said, you can literally bung anything in this, but here's what I use:
a few handfuls of mushrooms
a handful of chick peas (you could use pasta or even rice here)
pepper (any colour- I used the last of three different ones!)
one clove of garlic
vegetable stock cube
cream (soft) cheese
a splash of worcester sauce
a pinch of salt and pepper
Start by chopping up all your ingredients. Pop your stock cube in a deep saucepan, add your salt and pepper and cover with water- normally the stock cube packet will tell you how much water you need but to be honest, I just fill my largest saucepan. Add your chickpeas to this pan now and boil.
I then begin by steam frying my leeks (see my chicken pie post if you're not sure what this is). Once you've done this, tip them in your deep saucepan. Next, soften your mushrooms, peppers, onions and carrots in some butter by cooking on a low heat until squishy. Throw them in the saucepan with the leeks.
Now onto the chicken. Fry your chopped garlic until golden brown, then add your chicken pieces and your splash of worcester sauce- fry until cooked all the way through and the sauce is absorbed. Add these to the saucepan.
This is when I add the cream cheese- just bung it in the saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Give the mix a good stir and turn down the heat to a low simmer. Simmer for about 20mins and then you're done! Serve with some thick crusty bread.
P.S. If you're someone who's not a fan of chunky soups, you can give the whole thing a quick blast in a food processor so it becomes a purée.