I hereby dub October Inter-fall. That’s when the calender and the leaves on the trees say autumn, but you get days like today that say summer all round. Not to mention the current contents of my produce box still for the most part says summer. Last week at Daly City farmers market, one of the vendors was making large mystery baskets which in the last minutes of the market went down to only a dollar each. I already had produce coming out of my ears at home, but couldn’t pass up such a deal (I’m the queen of cheap, I really am). In my basket: a head of iceberg lettuce, two large bunches of red radishes, and 8 zucchini of varying sizes.
I’m still puzzling over what the radishes will become, and since I hate iceberg lettuce the lettuce head might just kickstart my compost box (but, hey, that’s another post). The zucchini posted a problem, since my husband doesn’t like them and last time I made zucchini chocolate muffins they all went straight to my waistline. I needed some other way to sneak them in, something cheap and delicious and filling.
Soup was the obvious choice.
I’ve seen summer squash in soups before, but was hoping to do this in such a way that it didn’t scream “Hey, there is a lot of zucchini in this soup.” Eventually I went with a classic flavor base of potatoes and onions and chicken broth, added zucchini, and gave a twist to it with Indian-style spices. This soup turned out awesome, and I guarantee that even the most fervent squash-hater will ask for seconds.
Note – I was also making a new batch of chicken stock today so I cooked the onions in the same pan I roasted the chicken, so they could get yummy chicken fat and drippings in them. You can substitute bacon grease, or schmaltz if you have them lying around and want to give the soup some extra oomph.
Curried Squash Soup
- One stockpot
- One heavy skillet (NOT nonstick!)
- 3 small to medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 8 small or 4 medium-size zucchini or yellow summer squash, peeled, sliced lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- one yellow onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- Spice mix- ground turmeric, garam masala, ginger, coriander, cumin, chili powder, about 1/3 tsp each
- large pinch dried fenugreek leaves, stems picked out
- large pinch dried parsley
- 3 cups chicken stock or enough to cover the vegetables
- vegetable oil
- extra virgin olive oil
- apple cider vinegar
- s/p and Tabasco to taste
- 3/4 cup milk
- In a heavy skillet, heat oil, bacon fat, butter, schmaltz, whatever tickles your fancy. (I used chicken drippings and extra virgin olive oil)
- Add the onions and saute over medium heat until golden, with a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper.
- A few minutes into the cooking process, add the garlic. stir frequently to assure nothing burns.
- In the stockpot, heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium heat.
- Once the oil is bubbling, add the spice mix and let them bloom in the hot oil, stirring constantly so that they don’t burn.
- After a minute, add the diced potatoes to the spice oil and saute – try to get a nice browning on the potatoes if you can- its okay if some pieces stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Once the onions are soft, add them to the potato spice mixture.
- Place the zucchini/squash slices in the skillet, stirring them around and scraping up any burned on goodness left by the onions and fat. If you need some extra liquid to accomplish this, a splash of chicken stock will help. Cook two minutes.
- Add the squash to the stock pot, stir well, and add enough chicken broth to cover the vegetables.
- Scrape the bottom of the stockpot with a spatula to free anything that burned on during the cooking process.
- Add the fenugreek leaves and parsley.
- Turn heat to medium low. Cover and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
- When the potatoes break apart easily with your spoon, turn the heat to low. You can puree the soup with a hand blender or in a cuisinart (please be careful!) or do what I did and just have at it with a potato masher.
- Drizzle in the milk and stir.
- Season to taste. Salt and Pepper for sure, plus a splash of cider vinegar and a few shakes of Tabasco to brighten flavors.
Serve with crusty bread.