Soup Weather: Two Recipes To Warm The Soul

When the temps start to drop and the air gets a bit chilly, I do a little happy dance because it’s finally soup weather again. A few years ago, I was shocked the first time I heard The Husband utter the words “it’s not soup weather” when I offered to make one of several tried-and-true recipes that I have in my arsenal. Sure, it had been in the 70’s that day but it was Fall and doesn’t this time of year mandate that soup be served? Fine, whatever.

We’ve finally had a few nearly chilly days recently and of course, a Thanksgiving meal isn’t complete without soup.  As such, I’ve had the chance to whip up a couple of our favorites in the past couple of weeks that I’m sharing with you in this post. Due to dietary restrictions in our family, both are dairy-free and gluten-free with the added benefit of being low in fat as well. Even so, they are wonderfully thick, luscious, and full of flavor.

Butternut Squash with Apple and Curry Soup

I found the first recipe about 6 years on the Fitness Magazine Website. The recipe was probably included in a series on meals made with butternut squash which was rising in popularity at the time. Since it was naturally dairy-free (daughter is allergic), the recipe was deemed worthy of trying and has been a huge hit with family and friends alike. The ingredients and directions that follow are essentially unchanged from the original version except I add less water so that the soup is thicker which we prefer.

Makes approximately 8 servings

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 teaspoon curry powder
6 cups (about 2½ pounds) peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash*
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
2 15oz cans white beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup water
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon thyme
Pumpkin seeds (not shown above)

*    Also equivalent to 1 package of peeled and chopped butternut squash from Costco

DIRECTIONS

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium/high heat. Add the chopped onion and curry powder and cook for 3 minutes. I’ve found it necessary to stir constantly and turn down the heat to avoid scorching the curry.

Add the butternut squash, apples, white beans, vegetable broth, water, thyme, and salt; stir well, turn up the heat to high, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer, stirring occasionally until squash is very tender, about 15 to 18 minutes.

Turn off heat. Puree soup until smooth with an immersion blender or in a food processor or upright blender (I love my Ninja!), working in batches as necessary. Add up to an additional cup of water to thin if consistency is thicker than desired.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds (optional).  Enjoy!

Click below for printable version
Recipe – Butternut Squash with Apple and Curry Soup

Creamy Sweet Corn and Potato Chowder

This next recipe is an adaptation from one I originally found on the Iowa Girl Eats website.  In preparation for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago, I’d decided that I wanted to make a corn chowder and went on the hunt for one that was dairy-free.  Kristin, the creative mastermind at Iowa Girl Eats describes the base of the chowder as being made from cauliflower that is simmered in broth then blended with milk, salt, and broth until it’s “the texture of thick, whipped velvet”.  Pop over to Kirstin’s blog to read more about this delightful creation and how it can be used in other recipes.

At the time, the dairy allergic daughter was still a meat eater (she’s since become a pescatarian sans dairy) so the original version of this recipe that includes sauteeing the onions, carrots, and shallots in a reserve of bacon fat saved after cooking said bacon wasn’t a problem.  The only change I made at the time was to use soy milk instead of regular milk and I swapped out frozen potatoes for fresh sweet potatoes as a personal preference.

The adapted version of the recipe that I’m sharing below includes those changes and swaps out the chicken broth for vegetable broth and the bacon fat for olive oil which makes the soup acceptable for those that don’t eat meat.  Since there are many in my family with no such aversion, I still offer bacon pieces as a garnish. Additionally, the ingredient quantities in the original version were based on 5 cups of broth which I found bothersome because store-bought broth typically comes in 4 cup cartons. Quantities in the adapted version have been adjusted based on reduced liquid. For larger family dinners, I just double the recipe as I did in these photos.

Makes approximately 8 servings (doubled recipe shown above)

INGREDIENTS
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
5 cups cauliflower florets (approximately 1 large head)
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup plain soy milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 carrot or equivalent of mini carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium-sized shallot, chopped
2 cups sweet potato, rough peeled and cut into ½” cubes
2 cups sweet corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
Salt and pepper
4 slices bacon (optional for garnish if not vegan)

In a soup pot, bring broth to a boil and then add cauliflower. Reduce heat, cover with lid, and simmer until cauliflower is fork-tender, approximately 15 to 18 minutes (don’t overcook).

Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a small skillet over a medium heat, add garlic and sauté until golden brown, approximately 1 minute.

Reserve ¾ cup of broth and set aside. Carefully transfer cooked cauliflower and remaining broth into a blender (in batches if necessary), adding sautéed garlic, milk, and salt. Blend until very smooth, 1-2 minutes, and set aside.

In the same soup pot, heat remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil and add carrots, celery, and shallots.  Season with salt and pepper and sauté until tender, approximately 5 minutes (this step not shown in photos). Add cauliflower sauce, reserved broth, and sweet potato to the pot. Cover and increase heat to medium/high, bringing chowder to a bubble. Cook until potatoes are tender, approximately 10 to 12 minutes.

Add corn and continue cooking until warmed through. Ladle into bowls and garnish with crispy bacon pieces, if desired. Enjoy!

Click below for printable version
Recipe – Creamy Sweet Corn and Potato Chowder

Even though Thanksgiving dinner this year was at my sister and brother-in-law’s home, I was still asked to make soup along with a side dish. I did most of my cooking the night before knowing that the soup would need to be transported cold and reheated at their house anyway. It was at the point where the potatoes were done that I paused in the preparation and refrigerated the chowder waiting until after it was reheated the next night to add the corn. The last stove top photo was taken just before serving and the photo below is of the satisfied soup consumers.

A couple of notes on the chowder. First, I’ve found that vegetable broths tend to be a darker color than the typical chicken broth so the cauliflower cream base in my version has an orange cast to it that makes it look more like a squash soup than a traditional cream-based chowder. Second, I hesitated on making this chowder for Thanksgiving that first time a few years ago because my brother-in-law has a very strong dislike for cauliflower. And there was the dilemma that if I did make it, should I tell him in advance what was in the chowder? Ultimately, I did make the chowder and I didn’t tell him in advance of serving it to him. I was quite nervous about it but I rationalized that it wouldn’t hurt him (he wasn’t allergic, just didn’t like cauliflower in its usual form). He loved the chowder and asked for seconds.  When I confessed to the hidden ingredient, he just shrugged his shoulders and said: “it’s good anyway” and proceded to finish a second bowl.

Clockwise from bottom left: sister, niece’s friend, niece, niece’s boyfriend, son, nephew, brother-in-law, brother-in-law’s mother (hidden), mother-in-law, husband, daughter.

I know that a post on recipes isn’t my usual fare but it was my original intention with this blog to write about more than just fashion. There are more recipes that I’d like to share as time permits for me to actually do some cooking. Lately, The Husband and I have tended to stick with the basics of grilled chicken or fish served with steamed vegetables and a side of potatoes or rice most of the time. On the occasion that I’m motivated to dig out one of the many recipes I’ve got at the ready to try, I’ll be sure the share the results.

From left: husband, daughter, mother-in-law, son, me.

Let’s connect! Subscribe, tweet, follow, friend, love, pin … all options are available and waiting for you. I look forward to hearing from you. And there’s still lots of time to join the Fine-Whatever link up in last Saturday’s post, Camo Skirts: Reclaim-Recycle-Reuse.

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15 thoughts on “Soup Weather: Two Recipes To Warm The Soul”

  1. This post has been bookmarked on my computer. I freaking love soup!! And I’m always on the hunt for good soup recipes. I’m so excited. My daughter arrives in a less than three weeks for Christmas and she’ll be here for about a week. We love cooking together and we can do the soup!! The butternut squash soup looks especially delicious! Thanks Rena!!

  2. I’ve never made butternut squash soup from scratch before, but I love the idea of buying the butternut squash already cut up! That just makes it look so much easier (lol)! These both look delicious!

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

    1. Carrie, it feels a little decadent to buy pre-cut squash but it makes the preparation SO MUCH easier that it’s worth the little bit of extra cost. I hope that you get a chance to make the soup and I’d love to hear how it turned out.

  3. I loved your story about not revealing the ingredients of your soup to your brother-in-law! I did much the same thing recently with my husband who has the same aversion to cauliflower. He also liked the recipe.
    This was a refreshing change Rena. It’s also nice to know that you’re adding variety to your blog as you always intended.
    If I’m remembering correctly, you have surgery coming up on December 8th? I will be thinking of you and sending good karma in your direction.

  4. Rena, I am also a soup fiend! I love when soup weather arrives and I could seriously eat soup daily. I make a crazy good pumpkin chowder that is a favorite in my house. I make tons of it and then freeze it for whenever the mood strikes! Both of your recipes look amazing and I may be trying them out soon! Thanks for sharing.

    Shelbee
    http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com

    1. Both of the recipes make enough to cover a few meals for us but I’ve never frozen a batch and reheated. That’s a trick that I’ll have to try sometime soon.

  5. Hi Rena! I love both of these recipes as I love the taste of buttnernut squash and the addition of apple and curry are interesting. Perfect for a family dinner on a cold night. It is summer here in Australia but these recipes will be on my list for next winter. Thanks for sharing with us at #overthemoon link party and hope to see you next week.

A comment from you would be lovely