Saturday, December 26, 2009

RECIPE COUTDOWN TO 2010: NUMBER 7

NUMBER 7: SQUASH AND CARROT SOUP TOPPED WITH YOGURT, PARSLEY, LEMON ZEST, AND BACON

This is how fast Dash moves. Here he is holding a glass bowl filled with oranges. This is why I'm always taking deep breaths.
Thankfully he seems to slow down a bit when he gets to cook. "What are we cooking today, mama?" is his constant refrain.  Today we are cooking squash and carrot soup.
 
Look at his focus as he peels the onion.
And then he starts rubbing his eyes saying, "The sun. The sun. Too bright." He doesn't realize that the onion is making his eyes sting, not the bright light.
We prep everything and then set it aside until the next day. I introduce him to the concept of "mise en place." Everything in its place. Bowls of chopped ingredients all ready to go. The next day Dash wants to "cook" the soup in the living room with his blue wooden pan. Onions. Yup. Carrots. Yup. Celery. We stir. And then we move to the kitchen to find the real heat.
I'm all about the toppings. Here's what we put on the squash and carrot soup: Greek yogurt, chopped parsley, lemon zest, and BACON.




SQUASH AND CARROT SOUP TOPPED WITH YOGURT, PARSLEY, LEMON ZEST AND BACON: printable recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 onion, diced
a least 2 big pinches of salt
a few turns of pepper
1 anchovy fillet (optional)
1 teaspoon tomato paste
4 cloves garlic
1 cup white wine
2 large squash or 3 medium (butternut, pumpkin, kabocha or anything similar)
4-6 cups chicken stock
1-2 cups water
2 sprigs thyme
squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
splash of vermouth (optional)

toppings:
bacon
Greek yogurt
chopped parsley
lemon zest

Warm olive oil in a big pot. Add, carrots, celery, and onion and keep at medium heat. While the aromatics cook, mash the salt, pepper, anchovy, tomato paste, and garlic into a paste with a mortar and pestle (or press the garlic and mix everything together in a bowl). Once the onions are translucent (4-5 minutes) add garlic/anchovy/tomato paste. Cook for a few minutes while constantly stirring until it smells caramelized and nutty. It can brown but don't let it burn. Add wine and cook off alcohol for a minute or so. Add squash, 4 cups of chicken stock, and thyme. Bring to a boil. Turn down to low heat, keep at a simmer, and cook until squash and carrots are tender (30-40 minutes). Remove thyme stems. Puree in the pot with an immersion blender or transfer to a cuisinart or blender. Taste and season as needed. If it's too thick add some chicken stock or water. I found I needed to add lots more salt. Sometimes adding a bit of vermouth or lemon juice at the end is nice as well. Serve by itself or with toppings.

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