Friday, August 19, 2011
Creamy Summer Zucchini Soup
It is the time of year where squash is in abundance at our house. Thus far, we have harvested no fewer than ten yellow crooked necks from our backyard garden plot. I've used them in a vegan zucchini and squash casserole stir fry, and sauteed with onions and oil oil.
Tonight I decided to try these yellow beauties in soup. I am a huge fan of Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre's The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and their blog at http://nourishingmeals.com. So when this soup popped up on their blog this week, I couldn't help but be drawn to it. The ingredients are simple, and the toughest part of the entire recipe is blending the finished soup into a fine puree. Plus, it has a decidedly tex-mex flavor, and at times might be mistaken as a corn chowder.
I can't say that I've had anything quite like this before. Even on a hot day the soup was light and tangy enough to be delicious. The addition of the lemon juice at the end of the cooking process gave a pronounced and welcome tang to the finished dish, yet I think that lime juice might have been a better choice given the cumin and cilantro included in the dish.
The recipe is good as is, but I think with a few additions, it can go from good to great.While the rice did help create a creamy feel to the soup, I think that the next time I make this I may use cooked white beans to pump up the creamy texture and provide a shot of protein. Green chiles could easily fit as well. I also thought that some diced roasted red pepper and some tortilla strips would finish the soup perfectly.
I have posted the recipe in it's original form but I hope to continue experimenting with this one. I will post any improvements to the dish as I perfect it.
Creamy Summer Zucchini Soup
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
8 to 10 cups chopped zucchini, crooked neck or patty pan squash
6 tablespoons uncooked white rice
8 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (I used a combination of both)
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
sea salt or Herbamare to taste (I didn't use any)
Heat a 6 to 8-quart pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the onion and saute for 5 to 10 minutes or until onion softens and is beginning to change color. Add garlic and cumin and saute a minute more. Then add chopped zucchini, white rice, and chicken stock. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until zucchini is tender and rice is cooked.
Add cilantro and lemon juice to the pot. Remove from heat and puree in your blender (or food processor) in batches. I like to toss in the whole bunch of cilantro to one of the batches after I have already pureed it some. This way the cilantro doesn't totally break down while you are pureeing the soup. Pour soup into another clean pot or bowl, stir batches together, and taste. If it needs a flavor boost, add Herbamare or sea salt to taste.