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Summer Herb Soup with Chargrilled Radicchio

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Serves: 4-6
30ml / 2 tbsp dry white wine
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 leeks, sliced
1 large potato, about 225g / 8 oz, roughly chopped
2 courgettes, chopped
600ml / 1 pint water
115g / 4 oz sorrel, torn
large handful of fresh chervil
large handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
large handful of fresh mint
1 round (butter head) lettuce, separated into leaves
600ml / 1 pint vegetable stock
1 small head of radicchio
5ml / 1 tsp groundnut (peanut) oil
salt and ground black pepper

Put the wine, shallots and garlic into a heavy-based pan and bring to the boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened.

Add the leeks, potato and courgette with enough of the water to come about halfway up the vegetables. Lay a wetted piece of greaseproof paper over the vegetables and put a lid on the pan, then cook for 10-15 minutes, until soft. Remove the paper and add the fresh herbs and lettuce. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until wilted. Pour in the remaining water and the vegetable stock and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Cool the soup slightly, then process it in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return the soup to the rinsed-out pan and season well.

Cut the radicchio into thin wedges that hold together, then brush the cut sides with the oil. Heat a ridged griddle or frying pan until very hot and add the radicchio wedges. Cook the radicchio for 1 minute on each side until slightly charred. Reheat the soup over a low heat, then ladle it into warmed shallow bowls. Serve a wedge of charred radicchio on top.

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