Do it ahead for a stress-free day

Chorizo soup
Chorizo soup

James Ramsden is having quite a year. In his new cookbook, Do-Ahead Christmas, he reveals his philosophy of preparing well in advance, to make the festive season – Christmas Day in particular – as stress-free as possible.

And with a new baby on the way, Ramsden will definitely be practising what he preaches. Here’s his recipe for soup that you can freeze.


(Serves 6-8)

Freezable (without saffron cream)

Olive oil

200g chorizo, cut into small cubes

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped; 1 stick of celery, chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

1/2tsp chilli flakes

1tsp finely chopped rosemary

1tsp ground cumin

200g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped

400g canned chopped tomatoes

1l chicken stock

100ml double cream

A few saffron strands

Heat a drop of oil in a large saucepan and fry the chorizo until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook over a low heat for 15-20 minutes, until soft and lightly golden. Add the chilli flakes, rosemary and cumin and stir for a minute or so, then add the chestnuts, tomatoes, stock and half the chorizo. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Blend until smooth, leave to cool, then chill or freeze.

In a small pan, gently warm the cream with the saffron for five minutes, then set aside to cool. Cover and chill.

30 minutes ahead:

Warm the soup over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally. Take the saffron cream out of the fridge. Put the remaining chorizo in a warm oven or gently warm through in a frying pan. Warm bowls if possible.

Ladle into bowls and top with a few chunks of chorizo and a dribble of saffron cream.