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The immersion blender, also known as the stick blender, is one of our favourite pieces of kitchen technology. Often overlooked, these small but mighty gadgets perform their duty in the flick of a switch to puree all kinds of ingredients, from hearty soups and fresh sauces to pâtés and spicy Indian dals. In the best blender league, it’s right up there.
To celebrate this piece of kitchen kit, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite sweet and savoury blender recipes, that can be made in minutes.
Ok, it may seem obvious, but many soup recipes call for an immersion blender in their final steps, in order to achieve the best texture possible. You can blitz nearly any kind of soup, but we often favour vegetarian recipes as they can be blended down to incredibly smooth textures. One of our most popular recipes is our healthy green soup, which makes use of antioxidant-rich veggies and nourishing stock. A hand blender is used to blitz the base of the soup before beans are added, creating a rich, hearty (and partially blended) dish that’s perfect for cold winter days.
Make the recipe: Super-greens soup with beans
Traditionally, achieving a perfect dal consistency requires a whole lot of boiling and whisking. But what if you had a little cheat up your sleeve? Taking your stick blender to your pot of lentils or chosen pulses will break down the skins to enrich the sauce and create a cohesive, well-combined and creamy texture. You can use this technique on many recipes, but one of our favourites is chana dal. Typically, this is made using mini dried chickpeas that are then split and partially broken up for speedy cooking – they endow the finished curry with a sweet, nutty flavour.
Make the recipe: Indian chana dal
A perennial favourite, cheesecakes always seem to have us coming back for more. There’s always a fresh recipe to try, and with an immersion blender, you can get to the best bit – the eating – even sooner. For instance, if a recipe calls for a fruit puree you can add this layer of fresh flavour by zhuzhing your ingredients with a stick blender (rather than resorting to a shop-bought coulis or having to labour over pushing soft fruits through a sieve).
One of our favourite twists on a classic cheesecake is this blueberry and vanilla icebox cake, which combines ice cream and cream, plus fresh fruit for a quick-and-easy – yet still impressive – dessert.
Make the recipe: Blueberry and vanilla icebox cake
For thick, rich tomato sauce, there’s a trick every cook needs up their sleeve. You guessed it; a handy little stick blender. Using an immersion blender on tomato-based sauce results in a wonderfully smooth texture that coats pasta beautifully. These versatile tomato sauces can also be used as the base to many other dishes, such as our chicken Parmesan bake, which combines the wonderfully savoury notes of hard cheese with sweet tomatoes for a real family crowd-pleaser.
Make the recipe: Chicken Parmesan bake
While most pâtés call for a food processor, you can get similarly good results with an immersion blender. For the best finish, start slowly and move the head with the blade on it up and down until you have your desired consistency. Of course, you can make all sorts of different kinds of pâté – from duck liver to mushroom, depending on your preference and dietary requirements. A firm favourite is a hot-smoked salmon pâté. This simple recipe takes just minutes to make and keeps well too. It also makes the ideal starter for a dinner party, as you won’t need to spend all evening in the kitchen once your guests arrive.
Make the recipe: Hot-smoked salmon pâté
Anyone who has ever watched five minutes of MasterChef will know the value of a puree – they seem to have the capacity to take a dish to another level of tasty. While you may not be competing to win MasterChef in your own kitchen, it can be fun to experiment with different techniques and to try something new. An easy way to put an impressive spin on dinner is to make your own pea puree. This really couldn’t be easier with an immersion blender to hand (or in hand). We’ve served our pea puree with scallops and a Parmesan crust, but it also goes really well with a classic fish-and-chip dinner.
Make the recipe: Scallops on pea puree with Parmesan crumbs