Sometimes cooking is all about taking just a few ingredients and treating them with care. A great chef once said that soup is actually one of the hardest dishes to make: every bite or sip really tastes the same, and so the flavours must be somewhat addictive to enjoy eating hot spoonful after hot spoonful.
There is a fine balance that must be created between these few ingredients, a balance between the salt in the dish, the sweetness of the vegetables and the ‘punch’ created by the addition of herbs and spices.
We also talk about ‘roundness’ or ‘mouth-feel:’ that creaminess created by the addition of cream or butter as well as by pureeing a soup. In today’s soup, we have used coconut milk instead of cream.
In this week’s surprisingly vegan seasonal soup we start with a fresh vegetable stock.
- 2 large onions, rough chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and rough chopped
- 2 celery, rough chopped
- 1 leek, rough chopped
- a few mushrooms
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- handful of fresh herb sprigs such as parsley, thyme and rosemary
- 1 tsp whole peppercorns
Place all ingredients in a pot; cover with cold water (about 8-10 cups);
Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer;
Simmer for 30 minutes and then strain into a container; use immediately or cool and refrigerate for up to three days or freeze. (Feel free to add additional vegetable scraps that you may have in your fridge.)
Roast Butternut Squash
- 4-5 cups of largely chopped peeled butternut squash
- 1-1/2 tbsp olive oil good pinch of kosher salt
Heat oven to 425°F;
Place squash on a baking tray; toss with olive oil and salt; roast for 30-45 minutes or until edges begin to brown.
Next, put the soup together:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 4-5 cups roasted squash
- 8 cups fresh vegetable stock
- 1 can coconut milk
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat and add onions and cook until softened. Add minced garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more;
Deglaze with white wine, simmer for 1-2 minutes to burn off alcohol;
Add squash and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and simmer 10-15 minutes;
Add coconut milk;
Ladle into blender, in batches, and blend until smooth. Add enough water to achieve desired consistency;
Reheat in clean pot;
Salt and pepper to taste.
Notes: Add salt as you go, a little salt with each addition to the pot creates a flavourful finished product.
Finished soup should be thick and creamy tasting. When blending the soup, do not add all of the liquid at first. You can add liquid to pureed soup but you cannot take it away.