For the next two posts, I’ll be sharing some soup recipes. This is the first one and I have to tell you, the word nostalgic comes to mind as I write. Last night, while I was making my way through the preparation of this soup, I had to head outside to get some firewood. When I came back in through the front door, I was struck by how good the house smelled. I told Laura that it felt like Thanksgiving all over again. It was great.
Talking about Thanksgiving got my mind turning and I began thinking about what we are going to eat for dinner during the holidays later this year. I know, it’s crazy, but these are the types of thoughts that go through my mind. As I was chatting away, I said this soup is definitely going to be on the menu. We’ll probably end up enjoying a nice salad with toasted pecans, dried cranberries and goat cheese. Then, this soup with some poached salmon, mashed sweet potatoes, red cabbage and some other side dish. It’s going to be incredible.
I’m getting off track here. I need to stay focused on the soup.
Believe it or not, this recipe called for the use of chard instead of the beet greens I used. While I was in the store, looking through the produce, I could only find the tiniest selection of Swiss chard. Thinking on my feet, I decided to substitute that with some beet greens. I’ve recently fallen in love with beets and the greens are simply awesome when it comes to flavor and nutrients. I’m not sure if you knew this, but beet greens are actually the most nutrient-rich part of the plant.
Trust me when I say this. This is a very, very good soup. There is a ton of cream and flavor and you don’t have to feel guilty about eating any of it. While the ingredient list does call for regular vegetable broth, feel free to use a low sodium version. You could even make your own broth if you were so inclined. I’ve been reading a lot about folks who make vegetable broth from food scraps that are saved in the freezer. That’s an interesting idea.
Speaking of ingredients, every other one is good for you. Butternut squash, onions, scallions, beet greens and coconut milk, among others. That’s why I’m saying that if you use a lower sodium broth, you’ll actually be better off after you consume something like this.
And to top things off, the soup is vegan and gluten free, if that’s a concern.
2 Tablespoons Regular Olive Oil
2 Onions, Chopped
4 Scallions, Minced
Regular Table Salt
4 Teaspoons Garlic, Minced
1 Habanero, Cleaned and Minced
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
1 Pinch Cayenne Pepper
4 Cups Vegetable Broth
3 Pound Butternut Squash, Trimmed, Peeled, Cleaned and Cut into 1/2 Inch Pieces
Greens of 3 Beets, Chopped into 1 Inch Pieces
1 15-Ounce Can Coconut Milk
1 Teaspoon Bitters
Before I begin with the recipe instructions, I’d like to say thank you to America’s Test Kitchen for their resource called The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook. While I altered some ingredients and cooking techniques, the inspiration for this recipe came from them.
Prep the Ingredients
While I know I already explained how the ingredients are supposed to be prepped above, I thought I’d show you some accompanying photos.
First, I peeled, cleaned and cut up the butternut squash. I stored the pieces in a medium sized bowl.
Then, I peeled and chopped up the onions. For this step, I used 1 red onion and 1 regular one. I used the red because I had that one for a while and I didn’t want it to go bad.
After that, I cut up the beet greens, which look a lot like the Swiss chard that was called for. Actually, I’m not sure I would be able to tell the difference if I wasn’t the one who cut these things up. There’s a big difference in taste though – that’s for sure.
And finally, I sliced the scallions into about 1/2 inch pieces.
Cook the Onions
Warm a large pot over medium-high heat. When it’s to temperature, add the oil, onions and scallions. Let these ingredients cook for about 10 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Continue cooking until the onions begin to lightly brown.
When that’s finished, add in the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, habanero, thyme and cayenne. Cook, while stirring, for about 1 more minute.
Cook the Squash
Next, increase the heat to high and add in the butternut squash pieces and the broth.
When the liquid begins to boil, lower the temperature to medium-low and let everything simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. After that, add in the beet greens, mix and let simmer for another 15 minutes.
Add the Coconut Milk & Blend
After all that cooking, you can turn off the heat and add the coconut milk and bitters to the pot. Mix that in well until the coconut is all melted. Then, place about 2 cups of chunky soup into a blender and blend until smooth. After it’s blended, add the liquid back into the large pot, mix and serve.
The Final Soup
After looking through these ingredients once more, I can see where all the flavor comes from. If I were to make this again, which I’m planning on, I’d experiment with almost everything. Since this is such a solid recipe as it stands, I’d like to see what happens when I alter quantities and make a few substitutions. If I do venture forth with something like that, I’ll be sure to report back here. Enjoy and thanks for reading!