Soup is usually the last thing on my mind in the summertime, but we’ve had a preview of fall weather the last couple of weeks, and this soup really hit the spot. It is full of fresh summer flavor, with a creamy texture that brings some of that comfort-food feeling to the table, which is something I always start wanting when the weather turns cooler.
It all starts with a mix of sauteed summer vegetables.
This is a big pan of vegetables, I know, but I had so much squash on hand, I had to do something. I threw in green beans and broccoli for more green color and added flavor, and just sauteed in olive oil, salt and pepper until the vegetables were just tender-crisp. They were a side dish for another meal, and I used the leftovers in the soup.
I put the leftover veg (about 5 cups) into a big saucepan with a can (about 2 cups) of vegetable broth, and let it all come up to a boil, lowered the heat to a simmer, and let it cook till the vegetables were tender all the way through. Next, I pureed the whole thing with my immersion blender, put it back on the heat, and stirred in some Bechamel sauce (white sauce, about 1 cup) to make it creamy. After it warmed through, I salted/peppered a bit more, and for the finishing touch, a splash of white wine vinegar to balance the flavors.
A note on the vegetable broth; I don’t do a lot of product endorsement here, but I want to recommend College Inn Garden Vegetable Broth, because canned vegetable broths can be pretty dicey, and I want your soup to have wonderful vegetable flavor, not the oniony, sour, off flavor that so many vegetable broths seem to have. College Inn is light, clean, and fresh-tasting, with the perfect amount of salt. (Edit 12/2013: I can’t find College Inn in my grocery store anymore, but Swanson 100% Natural Vegetable Broth is a great substitute.)
Don’t know how to make a white sauce? Any basic cookbook should have a recipe for one, as well as the Mighty Google. If there is one handy-dandy sauce to have in your kitchen toolkit, it is Bechamel Sauce. It is the base for many other preparations. I strongly recommend you become well-versed in Bechamel Sauce.
On a final note, the immersion blender, while convenient and easy to clean, did not make the soup perfectly velvety and smooth. So, if you want a smoother texture, I would suggest using your regular blender for the pureeing.
That’s it for now. The cucumbers are starting to rise up again, and need to be dealt with. All this talk of the zombie apocalypse, when really it’s the vegetables that are the real threat. Don’t turn your back on them, the harvest has only just begun. I’ll see you next time, on down the Road.