Saturday, October 8, 2011

guest post... with soup!

My sister Irene, who is vegan conscious, made some soup in her home in LA. Here is her guest post- thanks for being awesome Irene!

Autumn has officially arrived in Los Angeles.  It rained for half a day and the world freaked out.  The temperature briefly dropped below 70 degrees.  They're selling butternut squash the size of houses at the supermarket.
I bought one, giggled with my roommates about its unequivocally phallic shape, and then enlisted them to help me peel and cut it.  
It was time for soup.
I'm obsessed with both butternut squash and puréed vegetable soups, so butternut squash soup is the ultimate nirvana for me and I jumped at the first, tiny sign of the season to recreate the dish I most recently had at Fresh Corn Grill in Westwood.   I looked online for suggestions and came across a recipe for butternut squash soup with apples, which piqued my interest.  I never would have thought to add apples!  My modified, vegan-ized recipe is as follows:

  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • half a large onion or one small to medium-sized one, finely chopped
  • 4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks (approx. 6 cups) (I have no idea how many cups or pounds my squash made, but it was enough to fill a medium-sized mixing bowl.  And by fill, I mean pieces kept tumbling off the top.)
  • half an apple, peeled and cut into chunks (this is all I had, but feel free to add a whole one!)
  • one sweet potato, peeled and cut into medium-sized chunks
  • one leek, chopped
  • one small potato, peeled and cut into medium-sized chunks. (I used one I had lying around from a bag of mixed small potatoes from Trader Joe's... don't use the blue ones for this!)
  • 1 cup chopped carrot (I used baby carrots and didn't bother to chop them so this is another ballpark estimate)
  • vegetable broth/water (the ratio of this is up to you; I used mostly vegetable broth)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ground ginger
  • cayenne pepper
  • nutmeg

Heat the oil in a large soup pot and cook the onions until onions are tender.Add the squash, apples, leek, carrots, and potatoes, and stir around.  Let these cook with the top on for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables get a little color.
Add vegetable broth and/or water until it just submerges most of the vegetables.  Add a few shakes of salt, two or three grinds of pepper (can you tell I'm not too big on exact details?), a dash of ginger (but ONLY a dash), a dash (or more, if you like heat) of cayenne, and about a teaspoon of nutmeg.  Bring to a boil, cover and cook over low heat until all the vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes.
Purée the soup with an immersion blender or in a food processor, and taste!! Adjust the seasoning as desired.
Ladle into bowls, sprinkle some cinnamon on top (seriously amazing addition, thank you genius roommate), give it a quick stir, and enjoy!

I had an interesting time of it because we don't have very big pots in our apartment, so I used two medium-sized ones and tried to cook them exactly the same. The batches came out relatively equal, although one was a little spicier than the other.  Oh well, they all got mixed together anyway.
Vegetable puréed soups are so fun because once everything cooks, you pop it in the blender and it turns into purée in five seconds.  So easy, and such a great comfort food.  It saves for about three days in the fridge, and although I've never tried, this kind of soup apparently freezes well. 

Enjoy, and happy autumn!

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