Squash Soup with White Beans and Kale

Well, here in New England we are mostly all back online from the October snow storm that broke our trees into pieces.  Friends and family have been keeping their frozen goods in coolers, heating water in beer brewing equipment, and cooking on gas grills for a week or more.  On the flip side of all of the stress and anxiety caused by lack of heat and power, folks really pulled together, reached out to one another, shared their homes, their showers, hot meals.  Out of the bad came some good.

This recipe is good for New Englanders this week  on two counts: 1) it’s vegetarian, so if you lost all of your meats in the great non-electric thaw you can still make dinner and 2) if you’ve still got CSA veggies coming in (like me), this is a great way to use them.  A bit of herbs (dried can certainly be substituted for fresh), a can of beans, a container of broth/stock, and your squash & kale and you’ve got a hearty soup that’s packed with flavor and nutrients.  If you’re still cooking on the grill, and you’ve got a side-burner, you’re in luck.

Ingredients

2 sprigs parsley

2 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup apple cider

1 quart chicken broth

4 cups chopped kale

2 cups white beans, rinsed & drained

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound peeled and seeded winter squash, cut into 1-inch chunks (I used a combination of acorn & butternut)

Directions

  • Heat the olive oil in your soup pot over a medium heat. Add the onion and herbs and cook until the onions are just beginning to soften
  • Add the garlic and continue to cook until the onions are translucent
  • Add the cider and broth and bring to a boil
  • Add the kale, beans, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes
  • Add the squash and cook until just tender, about 10-20 minutes more depending on which varieties of squash you used

This recipe was inspired by a post on Whole Foods market’s site.

Kidney Bean Soup with Lime Yogurt

Now that we’ve had the tiniest turn in the weather here in New England, I feel as though I can post a soup recipe again without being driven from the free land of the internets 😉

This soup is high in protein, low in fat, and has a wealth of vitamin A.  It’s also got a fantastic thick and creamy consistency.  As far as flavor goes you get the standard kidney bean with the tangy yogurt and sweet lime all at once.  Then that’s all rounded out with the cumin & chili powder for a wonderful finish.

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces

1 celery stalk, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces

4 medium garlic cloves, chopped

3 cups + 1 TBS chicken or vegetable broth

3 TBS tomato paste

1 TBS ground cumin

2 TBS ancho chili powder

1 TBS dried Mexican oregano

1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained

salt and pepper to taste

Lime yogurt

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 TBS lime juice

1 TBS chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  • Chop onions and garlic, carrots and celery & set aside

  • Heat 1 TBS broth in medium-sized soup pot and sauté the onion in the broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently
  • Add garlic, carrots, celery, and continue to sauté for a minute
  • Add broth, tomato paste, kidney beans, and spices and bring to a boil
  • Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for another 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender ·
  • Make lime yogurt by combining yogurt, lime juice, and cilantro in small bowl
  • Puree the soup in a blender in small batches
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Reheat, and pour into serving bowls, top with lime yogurt, and serve

I opted to serve this soup with a side salad topped with edible flowers (greens & flowers from Old Friends Farm).

This recipe inspired by a post on WHF.

J

Black Bean Soup

In my ongoing quest to discover recipes low in fat and high in protein, fiber and nutrients, I came across this one.  While it’s not necessarily what I would term “soup weather” in New England right now, this really doesn’t heat up the kitchen all that much, and it’s packed with flavor.  The yield on this recipe is such that Neil and I each had heaping bowls of soup for dinner and there was equally as much left over so I froze it (which will come in handy this weekend when I’m running around like a lunatic prepping food-stuffs to co-host a baby shower with my sister) so it will easily feed four.

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 TBS ancho chili powder

3 cups + 1 TBS chicken (or vegetable) broth

1 small zucchini, quartered and diced

1 cup chopped collard greens

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed

1 cup frozen yellow corn

1 4 oz can diced green chili

1 roasted red pepper

1 tsp dried Mexican oregano

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 cup pepitas

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat 1 TBS broth in a medium soup pot. Sauté onion and garlic in broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes
  • Add red chili powder and mix to coat
  • Add broth, zucchini, collard greens, and tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes
  • Add beans, corn, green chili, roasted red peppers, oregano, and cumin
  • Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes
  • Add chopped cilantro, pumpkin seeds, salt, and pepper

We decided to have a nice fresh green salad with our soup.  It was a great combination because there was something cool to pop in our mouths when the heat of the soup got to be a bit much.

J

Butternut Squash Soup

This season I’ve been trying a new soup recipe each week.  I’ve eaten more soup in this one winter than I ever ate in my entire life combined, and I’m loving it.

Butternut squash soups are easy, and they’re also easy to change up.  You can add chilies to make the soup zesty.  You can add black pepper for boldness.  You can add more onions or apples, or even some maple syrup for a sweeter soup.  You can add sour cream for a more full, creamy soup.  The options are endless.  This particular recipe is a good base that can be added to, depending on your personal taste at the moment.

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, chopped

5 cups (about 1 pound) butternut squash

1 apple, peeled, cored & chopped

Directions

  • Heat 1/2 cup of broth in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add onion and garlic and cook, until soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Add butternut squash, apple and remaining broth, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Working in batches, carefully purée in a blender until smooth.
  • Transfer to bowls, and serve.

The color of this soup is really quite nice.  A beautiful shade of orange that’s not too bold, and not too boring.

And did you know that the seeds of the butternut squash are edible?  They’re terribly good if you clean them up a bit, dry them off and either pan fry them in a little bit of olive oil or dry roast them with a bit of salt.  You could eat them as a snack, or use them to top your soup or a nice salad.

J

Maple Parsnip Cream Soup

What this soup lacks in color it makes up for in flavor.  The parsnip has that earthy mouthfeel that carrots carry in their scent, but doesn’t come through in their taste.  The onions round out the flavor, and the maple sweetens the dish.

If you own a food processor with a slicing attachment, break it out for this recipe.  Cutting the onions and parsnips to the same width will significantly cut down on your cooking time.

I’ll also add this note (at the beginning of the recipe instead of the end for folks like me who work from the top down and don’t read the recipe ahead): shake your can of evaporated milk well.  And I mean well!  If you don’t, you’ll pour some watery ick into your soup and find the thickened sludge which are the solids that should be in your soup in the bottom of the can.

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon butter

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 pounds parsnips , chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

½ cup evaporated skim milk

1/3 cup maple syrup

Directions

  • Melt the butter & olive oil in a soup pot
  • Add the chopped onions to the pan and cook until they start to become translucent

  • Add the garlic & parsnips

  • Add the broth, bring the pot to a simmer and cook until the parsnips are soft (about 30 minutes)

  • Add the evaporated milk and remove the pot from the heat
  • Add the maple syrup, then puree in batches in the blender

Because the soup is a little lacking in protein, we opted to have ours with a side of Lima beans which are also great for: lowering cholesterol, having a fabulous fiber content, are packed with nearly 25% of your daily iron needs, et cetera.

J