I love soup. It’s one of those things you can make as a vegetarian and no one feels like they’re missing out. It’s also now closely associated with warm the companionship of friends. My husband’s family, growing up, was a military family, which frequently meant being away from family at the holidays. Since there were always lots of military folks around in the same boat, and because my mother-in-law is one of the most hospitable people I know, they frequently threw open their house on Christmas Day to those without families nearby. Chili was the traditional food for them, because it could be thrown together in a Crock-Pot and left to simmer all day for any and all who fancied some. When my husband and I found ourselves far from our families at the Holidays, we decided to continue the tradition. There was just one problem, neither of us was crazy about chili. So, the Soup-a-thon was born. I think last Christmas was the first year in nearly 10 that we had not hosted a gathering of friends. I missed it very much. Still, I keep on souping.
One of my favorite soups to make is Cream of Butternut Squash. It’s rich, and slightly sweet, and all-together comforting. Though it is my favorite, I have found that there are very few vegetables that do not taste wonderful cooked with onion and butter and cream (Broccoli is definitely one of them. Trust me on this one.)
This has been the summer of yellow squash. The area we live in is an agricultural one, and there are several programs to encourage buying local produce. We participate in one called The Produce Box. It’s sort of a vegetable basket of the week club. The last two weeks have seen a lot of squash and quite a bit of corn. Then last weekend our neighbor, who has a beautiful garden, brought us a bag full of cucumbers and… yellow squash. I pickled the cucumbers and some of the squash (softer than a cucumber pickle, but still tasty), but I still had a bunch. I’m not a huge fan of yellow squash. It’s texture and taste are inferior to zucchini when sauteed or put in a sauce, so I started searching for different ways of preparing it. I turned some of the squash into a savory cheesecake (I’ll write that one up at a later date, after I get some pictures.), but still I had more.
- 1 stick of butter
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 lb carrots, chopped
- 5 6-8 inch yellow squash sliced
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- corn from 3 cobs
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- salt to taste
- 3 cups buttermilk
- grated cheese for garnish
Melt the butter in a large pot or dutch oven. Cook the onions, garlic and carrots until the onions are translucent. Add the squash and stock. Cook until the carrots are tender (~15min). Add the corn and cook 5-6 more minutes. Season with cumin and salt. Allow the soup to cool a bit before adding the buttermilk or else it will curdle. If you plan to have left overs, add a bit of buttermilk to each serving dish, rather than to the pot. Reheating the soup will work better if you haven’t added it yet. Garnish with a pinch of cheese shreds (I used a “Mexican” blend). Enjoy!