Thursday, September 17, 2009

Roasted Zucchini Soup

A couple of years ago I spent a week participating in the Farm Culinary 101 program at Quillisascut Farm School in Eastern Washington. The first night that we were there, the chef on staff prepared a delicious meal that started with courgette soup. At the time, I didn't have a clue what a courgette was, all I knew was that I was eating some of the best soup that I have ever tasted. When I returned home, I looked up courgette to find that it is the British term for zucchini (duh).

I set out to create my own version of this delicious soup. Over the last couple of years I have refined my recipe into the version that I make today. The additional step of roasting the squash seems to be the real key to making this soup really shine.

This summer this recipe has come in especially handy. Two of my three weekly clients have been growing their own vegetables this year. If you've ever grown your own zucchini, you know that at some point you are going to be swimming in zucchini (and there is only so much zucchini bread that one person can make). This soup tastes great and freezes nicely (it's a nice little blast of summer flavors in December or January).

This soup is best made when the zucchini are little so the seeds are small and the skin is tender. If, though, your zucchini got away from you and ended up really big, once you have cut them in half you can simply scrape out the seeds, then once the zucchini are roasted, scrape the flesh out of the tough skin and discard the skin.

Here's the ingredients:

2.5 pounds zucchini (or any other summer squash)
1 Walla Walla Sweet onion (other onions work well here too, but a sweet onion make it extra delicious)
3-4 cup chicken (or vegetable) stock
1/2 cup cream (totally optional but it gives the soup a nice mouth feel)
olive oil
salt and pepper

To start I preheated the oven to 450 degrees. I also lined a sheet pan with aluminum foil (because I'm lazy and it make clean-up a snap). Next I cut the ends off of each of the zucchini and then cut them in half lengthwise. I arranged these on the sheet pan and drizzled them with olive oil and salt and pepper. Then I julienned the onion, spread it over the cut zucchini and drizzled with a bit more olive oil and salt and pepper.

I popped the pan into the oven. Forty minutes later the onions were slightly caramelized and the zucchini were roasted through.

I put the whole mix into a stock pot added the cream and enough stock to almost cover the veggies (you can always add more stock later, and I did, but if you add to much at this point the soup can get too thin).

Next I took the stick blender to it.

Keep going...

And...done. At this point I checked for seasoning and added just a little more stock so the soup was a good consistency.

Yum. A client favorite and a chef favorite. This made a lot of soup, about eight cups in all. I stashed a bunch of the soup in the freezer for quick meals come winter (and had a bit of it for lunch). The roasted sweet onion really makes this soup sing (but it really is good with regular onions too). I can hardly wait for winter when I pop this out of the freezer.

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