A variety of vegetables ensures that this wonderful soup is as healthy as it is delicious. The broth can be prepared a day in advance, ready for adding the fish at the last minute, which is useful when cooking midweek. Planning ahead like this means a healthy dinner can be on the table in minutes.
2 sprigs each of fresh parsley and thyme
1 bay leaf
7.5 cm piece of celery stalk
1 can chopped tomatoes (about 400 g)
3 cups (750 ml) fish stock
⅓ cup (80 ml) medium-dry alcoholic cider
1 large onion, chopped
400 g waxy potatoes, cut into large cubes
250 g carrots, thickly sliced
250 g zucchini, thickly sliced
250 g green beans, cut into short lengths
1 yellow or red capsicum, deseeded and sliced
salt and pepper
500 g firm white fish fillet, skinned and cut into bite-sized pieces
For the topping
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp snipped fresh chives
finely shredded zest of 1 lemon
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Tie the parsley, thyme and bay leaf with the celery to make a bouquet garni. Put the bouquet garni in a large saucepan. Add the tomatoes, stock, cider and onion, stir and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, half cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the potatoes and carrots. Increase the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are almost tender. Stir in the zucchini, green beans and capsicum and continue simmering, covered, for 5 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Discard the bouquet garni.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add the fish to the gently simmering broth. Cover and cook gently for 3–5 minutes or until the fish is opaque, just firm and flakes easily. Do not allow the broth to boil rapidly or the fish will overcook and start to break up.
To make the topping, mix the parsley, chives and lemon zest together. Ladle the fish and vegetables into warm bowls, then add the broth. Sprinkle with the topping and serve at once.
Some more ideas…
*Ring the changes by using different vegetables – broccoli florets, sliced leeks, corn, peas and green capsicums are all suitable. Add them instead of the zucchini, green beans and yellow capsicum in step 2. *Serve warm wholemeal rolls with the soup to add to the dietary fibre provided by all the vegetables.
*Green beans are a good source of dietary fibre and they also provide valuable amounts of the B vitamin folate. *Onions are a natural decongestant. Using onions as the basis for everyday dishes contributes to good eating.