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River Cottage summer garden soup

We often prepare this recipe to showcase some of our early summer produce from the River Cottage garden. You may not have access to the same range of just-picked veg, but gather some good, fresh stuff from a farm shop, market or greengrocers and you will get a similar result. Vary the veg according to what is available. Just chop it all into small, similarsized pieces, and ‘build’ the soup, cooking the harder, denser veg for slightly longer, and you’ll end up with a vibrant, fresh-tasting bowlful.


Chop the fennel, celery, spring onions and courgettes into small dice, keeping them separate. Tear the leaves from the chard stalks and shred them; cut the stalks into small pieces.

Heat a medium saucepan over a medium heat and add the butter and oil. Add the fennel, celery, spring onions and chard stalks and cook gently for about 10 minutes, until soft but not coloured. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

Making sure your broth is simmering well, add the courgettes. Once returned to a simmer, cook for 1 minute, then add the peas and broad beans. Simmer these for another 2 minutes. Check the peas and beans are just tender, then add the lettuce and the shredded chard leaves. Simmer for another minute.

Add the chopped herbs along with any feathery fennel fronds and, if you have them, the pea shoots, then immediately remove from the heat. Check the seasoning, then ladle into warmed bowls and serve.

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  • 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed (any feathery fronds chopped and reserved)
  • 2 celery stalks
  • A small bunch of spring onions, trimmed
  • About 500g small courgettes
  • A bunch of ruby or rainbow chard
  • 30g butter (Optional)
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 100–150g freshly podded peas
  • 100–150g freshly podded broad beans, blanched and peeled if large
  • 2 small lettuces, such as Little Gem, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed herbs, such as mint, lemon balm, parsley, basil, fennel tops and/or chives
  • A few fresh pea shoots (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Veg Every Day!