Wednesday, October 16, 2013

It's Fall So It Must Be Soup Time!

When the fall weather begins to arrive my culinary thoughts turn to soup.  Soups are easy, they're pretty (can a food be pretty? I think so!), they are nutritious and nothing warms you up better! I recently bought a new cookbook (despite my vow to buy no more!), The Soupbox Cookbook. What a great book! There is a restaurant in Chicago called The Soupbox and it was voted best soup in Chicago. I can understand why! The book has many pictures and easy-to-understand recipes as well as the author's personal anecdotes. It's a keeper!

So far, I've made two soups from the book, mushroom barley soup and roasted butternut squash soup with sage and apple. We enjoyed both.

Lots of mushrooms and veggies! You just know it's got to be good for you!
Though it looks "light" it really is a substantial soup, very filling.

Mushroom Barley Soup

8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
8 oz. shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
48 oz. vegetable stock **
1/2 cup pearled  barley
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a large stockpot with a lid, sweat the mushrooms, onion, carrot, and celery in the olive oil over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves and cook till fragrant, about one minute longer.  Add the vegetable stock, cover and bring the soup to a simmer.  Add the pearled barley and cook for 35-45 minutes until the barley is tender.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.

Lots of color and flavor in this pan! I've made butternut squash soup many times but this is the first recipe I've used where the vegetables were roasted first. 

Garnished with an apple slice, this soup was slightly sweet and very flavorful due to the herbs and the roasting of the vegetables.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Sage and Apple

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 medium carrots, quartered
1 medium onion, quartered
2 Gala apples, cored, peeled and cut into quarters
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
32 oz. vegetable stock**
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl toss the squash, carrots, onion, apples, garlic and the dried herbs in the olive oil and spread them evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Roast in the oven until the squash is tender, approximately 35-45 minutes. The vegetables should be tender and lightly browned.  Remove them from the oven and transfer the contents of the baking sheet to a large stockpot set over medium heat.

Add the vegetable stock, bring the contents to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. After 15 minutes, remove the soup from the heat and puree with a food processor in batches.  If the soup is too thick, add a bit more stock.  Add the heavy cream.  (Be sure to remove from heat first.) Taste the soup and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper as needed.

** The authors provide recipes for vegetable and other stocks, I used a boxed organic stock.

1 comment:

  1. Yum! I think the butternut squash soup will be up first for us to try.