Summer Soup: Part Deux
A few days ago, my friend J brought H and me some soup. Before I get into the soup, a few words about J.
We met in college and partook in the usual fare of burgers, beer and brownies. A few months ago, however, J went the way of vegetarian. She had read a lot of books on the meat industry and health, and decided meat-free was the route for her. Since then, J has traveled the road to veganism and I can honestly say she’s never looked better. Between her new habits, and the ½ marathon she recently ran!!!, J is like a new person. I’m just so proud of her.
Ok, enough gushing. When she gave me the soup, my first question was “is this vegan?” Naturally, I was met with a “yup!” I loved the color of the soup and was very excited to try it. Here is the recipe:
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small hot pepper, seeds removed and chopped
2 ribs celery, strings removed and chopped
2 medium (12-14 ounces) gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
1 1/2 pounds small yellow squash, chopped (or young zucchini)
1 pinch white pepper
4 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional, for color)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tablespoon tahini (optional) salt and white pepper, to taste (optional)Garnish: slivers of red bell pepper
Heat a large non-stick or enamel-coated pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, covered but stirring every minute or so, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes (add a little water if it tends to stick). Add the garlic and hot pepper and cook for another minute.
Add all remaining ingredients except the optional ones. Cover and cook until the potatoes are completely tender (they will mash if lightly pressed with a spoon), about 25-40 minutes.
Remove half of the soup and put it into a blender* and puree at high speed until completely smooth. (Be careful–hot liquids can erupt from your blender; I always remove the center cup from the lid and cover the opening with a kitchen towel.) Once it’s blended, pour the soup into another pot. Add the remaining soup to the blender, along with any optional ingredients you choose to use, and blend well. Add to the other half of the soup, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls, garnish with slices of red bell pepper, and serve.
*I like this soup blended smoother than my hand blender can get it.
And here are some comments from J regarding the recipe:
I used two cans of cannelini beans, drained & rinsed, in place of the potatoes. I added the turmeric in at the same time as the oregano & other ingredients, instead of waiting until I was blending. I added an extra tablespoon of tahini and an extra clove of garlic. For the hot pepper, I used the tiniest sliver of a habanero pepper (made it WAY too hot on my first attempt the other week).
Needless to say, I loved it – this soup is comforting while healthy. I normally don’t like spicy foods but this one has a nice kick that pleasantly swims around your mouth. (Am I getting over my fear of spicy foods?) Despite the absence of milk, the soup also looks and tastes surprisingly creamy. I would venture that’s the tahini at work. I know some people are scared by the word “vegan” but I’ve always wondered about that lifestyle. Not specifically about tempeh or seaweed, but more about focusing on simple ingredients that come straight from the earth. Anyone who’s interested in veganism should try this recipe. It’s a baby step into a new lifestyle that might be right for you.