- Serves: 8
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Prep Time: 25 minutes plus 2 hrs rising
- Effort: easy
For the bread rolls
- 450 g strong plain flour, plus extra for kneading
- 25 g butter, softened
- 20 g fresh yeast
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 120 ml lukewarm water
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 120 ml lukewarm milk
For the garlic butter
- 110 g butter
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
For the soup
- 55 ml olive oil
- 3 onions, finely sliced
- 110 g parsley, stalks and leaves separated
- 850 ml chicken stock
- 1 potato, sliced
- 12 thin rashers heavily smoked streaky bacon, chopped
- 50 g baby spinach
- 75 ml double double cream
- 25 g butter
- chopped parsley, to taste
- crisp-fried bacon, to taste
1. For the bread rolls: place the flour, a good pinch of salt and the butter in the bowl of a food mixer and, using a dough hook, mix thoroughly.
2. Combine the yeast and sugar in a bowl. Mix with your fingertips so that the yeast breaks down and becomes smooth and almost liquid. Add the warm water, egg and milk and mix together thoroughly.
3. With the machine still running, gradually add the yeast mixture to the flour to make a dough (you may not need to use all of the liquid). Allow the machine to knead the dough for 5-8 minutes, or until it comes away cleanly from the sides of the bowl and does not stick to your fingers.
4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover the dough with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in volume.
5. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knead well until springy, then divide it into 16 equal pieces (you could weigh them if you want to be exact).
7. Using the palm of your hand, roll the dough into balls. Place the rolls on the lined baking trays, leaving plenty of room for the dough to rise and expand. Cover again with the tea towel and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.
8. For the garlic butter: melt the butter in a small saucepan over a gentle heat. Remove from the heat, stir in the garlic and chives and mix well. Set aside.
9. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Bake the risen rolls for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown; when you tap the base of the rolls, they should sound hollow.
10. Leave the rolls to cool slightly then, using a sharp, serrated knife, slice deeply (without cutting all the way through) at about 1cm intervals, making about four cuts in each roll.
11. Liberally brush each cut surface with garlic butter, then wrap each roll in foil.
12. Reduce the oven temperature to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and place the wrapped rolls in the oven to heat for about 10 minutes.
13. For the soup: heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and parsley stalks and fry until the onions are softened and translucent.
14. Add the chicken stock, potato and bacon and simmer until the potato is tender, about 5-10 minutes.
15. Add the parsley leaves, spinach and cream. Simmer for a further 3 minutes then remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
16. Blend the soup until smooth, then pass it through a fine metal sieve into a clean pan. Reheat, adding the butter in small knobs and stirring continuously. Add salt and pepper to taste.
17. Serve the soup in bowls topped with chopped parsley and crisp-fried bacon, and with the garlic rolls on the side.
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