Soup season has arrived. As I write this, I am staring out the window at a bleak, rainy day and craving a bowl of soup. I like to make soup year round. Even in the heat of summer, if someone is sick I go out, get a chicken and make soup. But with the air finally turning downright cold, I can drag out the soup pot and put it to use! I have a counter full of winter squash from my CSA, so squash soup is first on the menu. I never make the same thing twice but it is hard to go wrong with a load of butter and some caramelized vegetables. My one best soup trick, learned from my hero, Marcella Hazan, is to cook the vegetables in butter, olive oil, or best of all, rendered pancetta fat. I start all my soups off with onions, carrots and celery. Today I am using pancetta, but after the holidays, I might use olive oil and sparingly at that! For a winter squash soup, I dice up a little Granny Smith apple and throw that in with the squash for a fresh tart flavor.
Once the vegetables start to turn golden brown, add in the broth and any aromatics you may like. I am partial to garlic and fresh thyme in my squash soups. Let it bubble gently for a while, stirring every half hour or so. Once everything is nicely cooked, either puree it or leave it chunky. Then into the bowl, with a garnish of something creamy and crunchy if you like and voila, dinner!
I would suggest that you take it outside to enjoy around your Fancy Fire Pit, but around here it is getting a little cold for that. My latest idea, though not novel, is to put it in little cups and serve as a portable first course at a dinner party. Either way, it is nourishing and delicious.
Happy Souping! Joy