About this recipe:Even though this soup contains bacon and root vegetables, it has a delicate flavour that makes it an appealing first course at any time of the year. Rich in B-complex vitamins, it is also low in fat and contains a good amount of fibre. Serve with crusty wholegrain rolls.
pinch of saffron threads
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
55 g (2 oz) lean smoked back bacon rashers, rinded and chopped
85 g (3 oz) waxy potatoes, such as Charlotte, scrubbed and finely diced
85 g (3 oz) parsnips, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
85 g (3 oz) onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 strip of finely pared lemon zest
750 ml (1¼ pints) fish stock, preferably home-made
250 g (8½ oz) skinless haddock fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper
4 spring onions, finely chopped, to garnish
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Method Prep:15min › Cook:20min › Ready in:35min
Put the saffron threads in a small frying pan over a moderate heat and stir until they just begin to give off their aroma. Immediately tip the saffron threads onto a small plate and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan, add the bacon and cook over a moderate heat, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, parsnips, celery and onion, and cook gently for about 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Add the saffron threads, bay leaf and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour in the stock and slowly bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low, half cover the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes or until the vegetables are almost tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
Lay the pieces of haddock on top of the vegetables. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan tightly. Simmer for 7–8 minutes or until the fish will flake easily and all the vegetables are tender. Remove and discard the bay leaf and lemon zest.
Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with the chopped spring onions and serve immediately.
Some more ideas
For a thicker soup, use floury potatoes such as King Edward or Maris Piper. They will fall apart as they cook and thicken the soup. * Vary the vegetables to use what is in season. Green beans are an excellent alternative to the celery, and turnips can replace the parsnips. Other suitable vegetables include carrots, courgettes, fennel and peppers.
White fish such as haddock is an important source of good-quality protein. On a weight for weight basis, white fish provides similar amounts of protein to that found in lean meat. * Potatoes do not have as much vitamin C as some other vegetables, but they are an important source because of the large quantity normally eaten. * Celery was originally grown as a medicinal herb, only being used as a cooked vegetable and salad ingredient in the late 17th century. Green celery contains beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A.
Each serving provides
Excellent source of niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B6. Good source of selenium. Useful source of folate, potassium, calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin C.