08 August 2008

Summer Squash Soup

Lately we've been getting squash in our CSA bag every week and I haven't quite known what to do with it. It's not that I dislike squash, I actually think it's pretty tasty, but I never really ate it growing up and don't really know what to do with it. I made some chocolate zucchini muffin cakes (which I need to actually post about) and we've had sauteed squash and Greek style squash with feta and pasta but with one giant saucer and one little knobbly (squashes that is) sitting in the fridge all week I decided to hit the internet in search of a recipe. I saw one that looked intriguing on a blog that I've recently come across, Vanilla Basil but it was made with sweet potatoes which I really don't like.

I know- you are probably saying, 'sweet potatoes, how it is possible you don't like sweet potatoes?'. I really wish I did since they are full of vitamins and quite healthy. The only answer I can give for my dislike it that they are just too sweet. Not that I don't like sweet things, but for me the sweet potato has an overwhelmingly sugary flavor, without any tartness, acidity or complexity to back it up. So- I went to the source of the recipe, a post on Smitten Kitchen, a blog which I had vaguely heard about but seem to be the only person on the internet who hadn't actually read. Deb's Summer Squash Soup came from a 2006 edition of Gourmet Magazine and seemed simple enough. 2 pounds of squash with some onion, carrot, broth and the dreaded sweet potatoes, which I decided to skip in favor of a few little red skinned potatoes I had sitting on the counter.

The original recipe also called for 6 T. of butter which seemed to me like a ridiculous amount so I started the onions in 2 T. butter than added an additional 1 T. with the sliced squash. I cut back on the chicken stock as I didn't want it to overwhelm the delicate squash and, while the veggies were simmering, decided to add a bit of turmeric for color and some herbs de Provance for flavor though the oringinal recipe called for no seasonings besides salt and pepper. Since we don't have a food processor, I finely chopped the herbs for the pistou (that's that green swirl in the soup) on a cutting board and stirred them up with the olive oil. For a finishing touch after pureeing the soup in the blender*, I added a little dollop of sour cream.

The soup was quite mild and delicate in flavor and I was really glad I had added the herbs and spices or else I think it might have been too bland. The pistou added a welcome fresh flavor of mint and parsley and the sour cream provided a tart counterpoint to the slightly sweet soup. We ate it piping hot last night, but I'm going to try it at room temperature for my lunch today.

One last note- if you wanted to make this super fancy, you could strain the soup through a sieve after you puree it. This would make it really smooth and elegant and I did sort of want to try it, but when it comes down to it, I'm just too lazy to bother.

Update: The soup was excellent slightly chilled for lunch. Soup always seems to taste better the second day, doesn't it?

*Be careful when blending hot liquids. Don't fill the blender container more than half way and remove the little plug in the blender lid and cover it with a kitchen towel folded into a small square, which you hold on top while blending. This will allow some steam to escape so excess pressure doesn't build up in the blender.

Summer Squash Soup
Based on a recipe from Gourmet Magazine
Yields approx. 16 cups or 8 dinner sized servings

For the soup
3 T. butter
1 medium onion, sliced into thin half moons
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 lb. summer squash, cut into think slices
2-3 potatoes (about 1/2 lb), roughly chopped
1/4 t. turmeric
1/2 t. herbs de provance
2 c. chicken or vegetable stock
2 c. water
sour cream for topping (low fat is fine)

- In a large soup pot, sweat onions over medium heat until softened, about 8 minutes. While the onions are going, chop the remaining soup ingredients. After the onions have softened, add the carrots, squash and potatoes along with the herbs and spices. Give a stir to coat.

- Add the liquids (they should nearly cover the veggies, if they don't add a bit more water) bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, or till the veggies and potatoes are tender.

- Working in batches, blend the soup until smooth. (Here's when you'd do the sieve thing if you wanted). Pour into soup bowls and top with the pistou and sour cream. Serve immediately.

For the pistou
1/2 c. loosely packed parsley leaves
3/4 c. loosely pack mint leaves
3 scallions
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. olive oil (the best one you've got)
2 T. water

- Using a food processor or kitchen knife, finely chop herbs and scallions. Set in a bowl and mix in remaining ingredients. Swirl 1 T. into each bowl of soup.

1 comment:

kat said...

Oh great idea. i think we too will be continuing to get squash in the CSA box so new ideas are always welcome!