A few months ago, I made Dinner: A Love Story’s taco soup (from their first cookbook). The part that threw me the most was a suggested topping: fresh sliced avocado. Doesn’t avocado go in guacamole? It’s a best-served-cold vegetable (fruit!), isn’t it? My friends–be ready to be amazed: fresh sliced avocado is the best thing ever in chicken soup.
In the meantime…
About three years ago, I decided on a whim to become an expert soup-maker. It seemed like both an attainable and a noble goal–aside from being super useful! I would now call myself a soup-expert; blended soups, stewy-soups, broths, cold, hot, ramen-y, I’ve made ’em all, and can throw together some pretty great options with a reasonable amount of ease. Thank goodness it’s turning cooler and there are lots of squashes and hardy veggies available and appetizing again–though my mom makes a mean gazpacho, but it’s never been my jam.
Here’s a recipe I use all the time with lots of flexibility; it’s “naturally” gluten-free and freezes so beautifully:
Melt some butter and olive oil in a pot (I use my 4-qt dutch oven); add one chopped onion and some garlic, if you like it. If you’ve got some celery and/or carrots that need to be used up, throw them in with the onion (chopped, of course). Let those “aromatics” get soft, and maybe even a little bit brown (i love the flavor when onions get burnt around the edges, so sweet!).
Depending on when you’ve finished chopping the butternut squash (could be 1-2 pounds, or larger–whatever you’ve got; could also be a sweet potato or a few, instead!), throw it in and let it get a little color, too. If your other veggies are already pretty far gone, add 1/2 – 1 cup white wine and scrape up the delicious bits of veggie and juice stuck to the bottom of the pot, and then add the squash.
Once all the vegetables are in with the wine, add chicken broth (or vegetable broth–or whatever gluten-free broth you want–I make my own, so I know what’s in it) to cover the vegetables by about an inch. Add salt & pepper, and if you’re feeling wild, about 1 tablespoon curry powder. You could throw in thyme instead, or rosemary–especially if you’ve used sweet potatoes. Let the soup simmer till the squash is tender (when you poke it with a knife, it easily yields), and then let it cool a bit. Either use an immersion blender (highly recommended) or a usual blender (in batches, so that the top doesn’t fly off!) to make a smooth soup, and then serve with goat cheese & more S&P, or ladle into bags or tupperware (or ice cube trays!) to freeze (if you use ziploc bags, lay them on a cookie sheet–they’ll freeze flat and then you can stack them for efficient storage!).