Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Student Suppers: Bacon Maple Granola Soup Topper

So, I may still be able to go out most days just wearing my new, super warm and snuggly Whistles cashmere jumper, but soup season is definitely upon us. There are loads of recipes for different soups on this blog, so today I thought I'd talk about something a bit different: soup toppers. I've talked about making punchy flavoured oils to drizzle over a bowl (see my coriander lime oil that goes great with a carrot soup, or my basil oil that goes great on a tomato soup or something a bit earthier like a squash or pumpkin soup) but let me introduce you to my new favourite thing to go on every smooth soup I've lunched on recently: savoury granola.
Pea and Mint Soup with Bacon Granola | www.rachelphipps.com @rachelphipps
Pea & Mint Soup with Bacon Granola | www.rachelphipps.com @rachelphipps Savoury Bacon Granola | www.rachelphipps.com @rachelphipps
Or, more accurately, savoury bacon maple granola. Think clumps of crisp oats (with added toasted sunflower seeds for added crunch) flavoured with sweet maple syrup, salty, unami soy sauce and savoury, chewy pieces of crispy bacon. The croutons start off crunchy as you tuck into your bowl, and gradually absorb the soup, leaving a delicious, salty, rich porridge in the bottom of the bowl to spoon up. I've taken a cue from my friend Izy's brilliant new book The Savvy Cook to make the granola in a frying pan rather than in the oven; not only is it super simple, but it is the best way to make sure you don't burn the bacon!
Cully & Scully Pea and Mint Soup with Bacon Granola | www.rachelphipps.com @rachelphipps
I've teamed up with Irish soup brand Cully & Sully for this post. I know that my philosophy used to be 100% homemade, and 99% of the time it still is, but sometimes I've just run out of homemade meals in the freezer or I need something last minute that is delicious, nourishing, and fits in with my 'I know what all the ingredients are on the back of the pack' rule when it comes to buying the odd item pre-made. Call it finally becoming a grown up and realising I don't have to do everything all of the time, if you will. I'm rather partial to their pea and mint soup (you can find it in Tesco, and you can stash it in the freezer - useful as it usually has a pretty short shelf life on account of it not being stuffed with additives), just like I now have a bag of Itsu frozen dumplings in my freezer and I'm branching out into different flavours of pesto to go over my pasta. 
Pea & Mint Soup with Savoury Bacon Granola | www.rachelphipps.com @rachelphipps
I've made you enough granola here for a tub, which will do about 6-8 bowls of soup. Not only is it easier to make in a big batch, but it lasts well in a airtight container for about a week, so if you've picked up a couple of different new flavours to try for autumn/ made up a big batch of something you'll want a big stash! Alternatively, you can also use the granola on autumnal salads in place of croutons. 


  • 4 Rashers Streaky Bacon
  • 8 tbsp Rolled Oats
  • Large Handful Pumpkin Seeds
  • 2 tbsp Light Oil
  • 1 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Soy Sauce

Place the bacon in a large, non-stick frying pan and set it over a medium heat. Cook it on one side until it is crispy and starting to brown, then turn it over. You're after crispy, American-style bacon rashers that stand to attention and don't flop over when you lift them out of the pan to drain on a piece of kitchen paper. Wipe the bacon fat out of the pan and return it to the heat. (Your bacon fat should be clean and clear in the pan as what you've just done is rendering. You can pour this into a jar and save it in the fridge; mushrooms are delicious, albeit unhealthy cooked in the fat, and if you own a copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook there is an excellent recipe in there for bacon biscuits where you use the fat in place of some of the butter in the pastry).

Toast the oats and the pumpkin seeds in the dry pan until the oats have started to go a little golden and the seeds have started to pop. Meanwhile, cut the bacon into small pieces. Stir in the bacon, followed by the oil, syrup and soy sauce. Stir until everything is well coated and the mixture in the pan has become fragrant. Turn off the heat, and spread the mixture in a layer across the pan. Leave this to cook completely before breaking up into large chunks to sprinkle straight over soup, or to store in an airtight jar or container. 


For more 'student suppers' (perfect for students, busy young professionals, or anyone who wants to cook quick easy, delicious and (mostly!) healthy food on a budget, in a tiny kitchen or with barely any equipment) do check out my student suppers archive, or order a copy of my cookbook Student Eats!


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