Welcome to Part 2 of the Soup Season Diaries. Did you make any soup in the past week? Just in case you are looking for more inspiration, here are a couple more soups that we’ve made recently.
Butternut Squash Soup
The produce box decided to bring me a butternut squash the other week. I was delighted and intimidated and decided that the best way to put it to use was something that wouldn’t rely on my knife skills to succeed. It was another perfect victim for soup season.
- Step one: dispatch the squash. I cut off the ends, cut it in half across the middle and used the potato peeler to peel it. Then I split each section, removed the seeds, and roughly chopped the whole thing into reasonable-sized bits.
- Next, dice an onion, sauté in olive oil, sprinkle with salt.
- Once the onion starts to get soft, add two cloves of garlic. When the garlic starts to get aromatic, add a good splash (maybe more of a pour) of white wine. Let that reduce a bit.
- At this point switch to your slow cooker (or slow cooker mode if you have an all-in-one).
- Add the chopped/peeled butternut squash and four cups of liquid. Go do something else for a few hours.
- For a while it will smell like you are making chicken soup (if you use chicken stock). Don’t panic, just ignore it until you begin to smell the squash. Then go check it and if the squash is tender it’s time to blitz it with the immersion blender (or transfer to the blender).
- Once you have a fairly smooth puree, check your seasoning. We decided that we needed to add a good blast of Cayenne pepper, some black pepper, and more salt.
My serving suggestion for this is to add a nice dollop of sour cream and a generous sprinkle of chopped parsley/scallions.
Split Pea Soup
This is Mr. Man’s specialty. He bought a five-pound bag of split peas off of the internet almost as soon as we got the fancy slow cooker. The only reason that he doesn’t make split pea soup all the time is that we don’t tend to have smoked ham hock sitting around all the time.
There really aren’t steps for this one. Mr. Man doesn’t bother with sautéing the onion, celery, and carrots, he just throws them right in the pot with the split peas, ham hock, and liquid. He does chop the onions and celery rather fine; they seem to disappear into the split peas, leaving just big chunks of carrots and hopefully little bits of smoked ham.
He recommends starting the slow cooker on high until everything gets going, the split peas start to soften and you smell the smoky ham hock. Then switch to low and let it go a while longer.
Before serving, he will pull out the ham hock and use a fork to pull the meat off the bone. If it doesn’t look particularly delicious, skip this step and just throw it out. You can always dice some breakfast ham or even sandwich ham if you want.
Soup season is a fun time to make something delicious with whatever you happen to have on hand. I hope I have inspired you to undertake a bit of careless cookery.