Several of us were drooling over the soups that Cindy was making. She has graciously agreed to share the recipes – and they sound FABULOUS! Enjoy – and Thank you, Cindy!
I don’t exactly use a recipe, so I’ll have to reconstruct as best I can. I’ve made so many adaptations to the originals that mostly what I cook doesn’t resemble the original source.
Butternut Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 medium or 1/2 large spanish or other sweet onion
1 tablespoon butter
1 box (or two cans) vegetable stock (I use organic low sodium)
2 cups or so of water, depending on how much it cooks down…
1 cup red lentils
skim milk to desired consistency
black pepper to taste
Directions: 6 servings or so (depending on size of squash and amount of milk added)
Lightly brown squash cubes and onion in butter in large stock pot (I’m in love with my cast iron dutch oven!). Add stock, water and lentils (rinsed). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes or so, until squash is very tender. Remove from heat and blend (I just got one of those immersion blenders, which will make this part go a LOT faster—once I master keeping it in the pot!). Add enough skim milk to make desired consistency—I like mine thickish. Top with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and a few diced scallions, if desired (It looks very pretty this way!). I add black pepper when I serve it. Some people make it with a variety of pumpkin-type spices and add apple or pear to sweeten the soup, but I prefer it without the sweetness (If I want pie, I’ll make PIE!).
The secret to really good soup is starting with the best possible, freshest available ingredients. I have found that organic really does make a difference with a lot of vegetables—they seem much more flavorful (and I feel better eating them!).
Portuguese Kale Soup
1/2 linguica sausage
1/2 chorizo sausage (freeze other halves and save for next time!)
1 large bunch fresh kale (or two boxes frozen kale, if that is all that is available…)
I medium or 1/2 large sweet onion, diced coursely
4 small/medium red potatoes, washed and cubed (skins on)
4-5 carrots, washed and sliced (skins on)
1 can diced tomato (no salt added)
1 can red kidney beans (or other varieties work, as well)
1 can white beans
Directions: 6 servings, or so…
Slice sausages and put in large stock pot (Again, cast iron works well for this and cleans up beautifully!). Clean and remove large veins from kale, then chop and add to stock pot. Add onion, carrots, potatoes and diced tomatoes. Add water—enough to cover 2/3’s of ingredients… Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for ~ 45 minutes or so. Remove from heat and add beans. Serve immediately or put into containers for the fridge. This doesn’t freeze particularly well, because of the potatoes. They get mushie/funny texture when frozen and thawed… Sometimes, I make it with peas (frozen) that I add right at the end, so they don’t overcook. And rutabaga is a nice substitute for the potato once in a while, too. The sausage adds all the flavor/spice that I need in a soup, which is why I don’t use stock for this recipe. I get my sausages at the Whole Foods Market, so they don’t have nitrates or other additives. And I use the freshest produce available—organic, if possible.
Soups are about the easiest recipes to play around with successfully. So have fun, mess around with them, and make them your own. I have the pyrex/corningware soup mugs with plastic covers that really seal in liquid and have a little vent thingy for microwaving. I just line them up in the fridge and lunches are ready for the week. When I make two varieties (to combat boredom) I usually give some away, but some varieties might freeze well—none with milk or potatoes, though. Besides, it is fun to feed a friend some nice, warm soup once in a while!
So, that’s what I do. I hope someone enjoys it. Maybe we’ll get others to share some recipes, too. There is still a lot of winter left in the northeast!