Potage of vegetables with poached duck egg and fresh herbs

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Although there are a lot of ingredients involved, this soup is very simple to make, is bursting with fresh flavour and goodness and is a favourite of mine at home. It’s an adaptation of a recipe I first learnt when I was working with renowned Michelin starred chef Raymond Blanc. We also occasionally serve a version of it in our restaurant. Taken with a chunk of crusty brown bread it’s summer in a bowl, or spring, autumn & winter if you change the vegetables with the season.

Makes 2 servings:

2 tbsp rapeseed/olive oil
45g shallot/onion
45g carrot
45g fennel
45g leek
45g courgette
45g broccoli
500g water
45g fresh garden peas or frozen
45g cos/gem/any English lettuce – sliced into strips
20g celery
10g spring onion
50g cherry plum tomato quarters
2 tbsp chervil (chopped)
1 tsp tarragon (chopped)
20g crème fraîche (optional)
2 duck eggs
nasturtium flowers and leaves to decorate



Cut all the vegetables into approximately 1cm dice, try and keep them at least around the same size so they will cook evenly. Ensure you keep them separate from each other. Sweat the shallot in the oil. After five minutes add the carrot, fennel and celery and continue to sweat with no colour for five minutes on a low heat. Add the water and cook at a gentle simmer for eight minutes or until the vegetables are almost cooked but still a little firm.

Poach the duck eggs in boiling water, drain and transfer to your serving bowls. Add the courgette and broccoli to the soup cooking for about five minutes at a simmer, then add all the other ingredients except the créme fraîche.

Transfer to the bowls and decorate with the nasturtium leaves and flowers. To be a little indulgent, place a spoon of créme fraîche in the centre on top of the eggs to finish.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes



Chef's tips:

I would recommend making about four times the recipe, that way you will use up whole vegetables rather than a few tablespoons of each. Once it's made you can then quickly chill it and freeze until required.

You may wonder why I don't advocate using chicken stock in the recipe. The simple answer is you can if you wish - however; this recipe relies on the subtle vegetable flavours being the stars of the show, which could be masked or overpowered with a meat stock.

The vegetables can be easily substituted to match the seasons and can be liquidised for those that like soup purées. If you do purée the vegetables you will need to add some more water to get a thinner consistency.

Edible flowers are a great way to lift a dish visually and this soup makes a perfect foil, after all we eat with our eyes. I use nasturtium leaves and flowers which are easily grown and are often found in well tended gardens, as they are stunning visually. They taste slightly of horseradish.



Courtesy of Chris Horridge, Head Chef, The Bath Priory, Hotel and Restaurant

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