Autumn Soup

I can’t believe it’s fall.  My second favorite season.  Crackling air, technicolor dream trees, curling up on the couch with an apple and a book half-watching the rain, a reason to use the sage that’s been growing in my window for months. And piping hot soup, let’s not forget soup.  The bear hug of the culinary world.

A couple of weeks ago, a good friend of mine gave me a squash the size of an infant.

It's important to make your vegetables comfortable. That's pretty much the whole reason I bought an overstuffed chair...I know. New camera. Christmas is just around the bend.

and I said, “Michelle, what kind of squash is this?”
and she replied, “A green one.”
“Yeah,” I said, “I can see that….”
“The kind that’s hard to peel…” she offered.
*Quizzical look from me*
“I don’t really know what to do with it.”
“I’ll make soup.”

First, I cut the squash into workable pieces.  Sound advice: if a vegetable is larger than the blade of your knife, you need to cut it.  If a vegetable is larger than your cutting board…

you really need to cut it. I got the peel off with a chef’s knife.  That’s definitely the way to go, peeled half in less than a minute.

I cut around the core and medium diced the flesh. Then just to get a sense of the flavor, I pan sautéed a few pieces.  It’s very similar in flavor to zucchini, but not quite the same texture. Spongier, I’d say.  Some type of hybrid zucchini, perhaps?  Who knows? It’s delicious, whatever it is.  Soup’s on.

Autumn Soup
(So named because I have no idea what kind of squash I used)

1 cup green? squash, medium dice
2 medium carrots, medium dice
1 small onion, medium dice
1 stalk celery, medium dice
Olive oil
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock*
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 tablespoon fresh sage
salt and pepper to taste

Dice all vegetables, preheat pan to medium high and add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Season vegetables with salt and pepper and saute vegetables in batches until lightly caramelized.

In the meantime bring the stock to a boil in a large pot.

Reduce to a simmer and add vegetables.  Now’s the time to add any parmesan rinds you have lying around and a couple of dashes of salt.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Add sage and parmesan cheese.  Stir and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Fish out what remains of the parmesan rinds. Taste, adjust seasoning, eat.

Mmmm… autumnal.

*I use homemade chicken stock.  Recipe here. I know what you’re saying, who has time to make stock?  It does take about 4 1/2 – 6 1/2 hours, but only 30 minutes of that is active time, and apart from bread baking, it is quite possibly the homiest smell on the planet. Vegetable stock only takes like an hour.  Still don’t have time?  I will accept “lack of freezer space”.  If I were to buy it, I’d get the kind with no sodium or low sodium.


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