01 August 2014

Southwestern Summer Squash Soup


Yellow squash make a short appearance at the farmer's market during the summer months here. They are small and as brightly golden as the sun, and when they are this fresh they need little cooking or embellishment to bring out their tenderness and subtle flavor.

I made this soup to showcase them after being inspired by a squash soup my mom always made and I enjoyed again when I visited this summer. Here squash coins are cooked  in a bright and clean broth until crisp tender, then topped with pickled jalapenos, avocado, and fresh corn cut off the cob. This makes a warm but light soup, just right for our long summer evenings where daylight extends until almost 9:30 at night, and the temperature drops to a pleasant coolness.

Somehow it's already August, and I'm not sure how much longer our summer will last here. But as long as possible I'll continue to enjoy soups like this, quinoa bowls, fruit salads (a simple red leaf lettuce salad is coming up next!), and no-cook breakfasts.

But what about you? What foods can you not get enough of at the moment? Whether you're enjoying summer or winter, I'd love to hear your current food loves in the comments below!

Southwestern Summer Squash Soup
Serves 4-6
Notes: You want to use squash and zucchini that have a narrow and firm body, which usually ensures they will have a tighter center (i.e. smaller/fewer seeds) and will not completely turn to mush when cooked.

Knob ghee (or extra-virgin olive oil)
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red chili, minced (or jalapeno)
3 cloves garlic, minced
Handful cilantro with tender stems, finely chopped, separating stems from leaves
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
7-8 cups / up to 2 liters water
1 Tbsp. salt
6 firm and narrow yellow squash, thinly sliced (1/4")
2 firm and narrow zucchini, thinly sliced (1/4")

To Finish
Pickled jalapeno
1 corn on the cob, removed from cob
Avocado

Heat ghee in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. (If using olive oil, heat over medium-low.) Add onion and chili, cook a few minutes until beginning to soften. Add garlic, cilantro stems only, and cumin. Cook for another minute until fragrant.

Add water and salt, cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Taste broth at this point, adding more salt if needed. You want it to taste like a really well-seasoned broth, with smoky, spicy, and bright notes. It should be something you wouldn't mind having a bowl full of on its own.

Add sliced squash and zucchini to broth, and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until squash are slightly softened in the center but still with a bite at the edges. Stir in reserved chopped cilantro leaves, taste broth and add more salt if needed.

Ladle into bowls and top with pickled jalapeno*, corn, and avocado.


*Pickled jalapenos are very tasty in this and quite easy to find, even here (Migros/Coop in Mexican food section or Turkish markets). But a squeeze of lime and extra chili can replace pickled jalapeno in a pinch.

16 comments:

  1. Ooh, this looks so mexican-fresh! I am liking how simple and light it is to make too. x

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    1. Thank you Deena. It is a wonderful simple and light soup, in case you have some warm weather remaining over there!

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  2. I can't believe it is already August! Unfortunately, here in Tucson, our summer has been known to last well into October. As much as I love summer produce, I'm so ready for some cooler temperatures that don't make me sweat when I walk to my car from the house each morning! I love all these summer flavors so much and I can't stop eating them! This soup sounds amazing and I know I would love it :)

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    1. Thanks Izzy! Yes, I know that heat well. I figured you'd like these flavors, maybe a warm soup will sound better to you after October. ;-)

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  3. That yellow colour of those squash is gorgous! I love how pretty you've made it too, it can be so hard to get soup to look nice I think. I usually just tend to get the easy option and chuck everything in the blender, but I imagine this would be lovely with the different textures and flavours of the ingredients!

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    1. Thanks Dearna! Still have lots to learn when it comes to beautifying food for it's close-up but when there are such fresh and vibrant summer produce around it makes the work a little easier. I love blended soups too, esp with root veg in the cooler months.

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  4. I'm loving fresh sweet corn at the moment! Been making anything I can with it - salads, fritters, soups, or just steaming and grilling it as is! Your soup has corn too... will definitely try :)

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    1. Fresh sweet corn is the best, isn't it?! I love the crunch and sweetness the raw corn cut off the cob gives to this soup. Hope you do too Felice!

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  5. What a lovely use for squash! I love sweet corn when it's in season. This looks so tasty!

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    1. Thank you Lilli! Yellow squash isn't something I have often (as it's available here only for a short time), so I wanted to do my best to bring it front and center!

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  6. This looks beautiful and so fresh. I love the combination of flavors! I am going to try this tonight, as I have way too much squash in my garden :)

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    1. Thank you Kristie! Not such a bad problem to have a lot of squash. ;-) I hope you enjoy the soup, do let me know how it turns out!

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  7. Golly! I can't believe it's already August as well! We have take advantage of this season's fruits and veggies the best we can! This soup is perfect for this! So much goodness in one bowl! Yum!

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    1. I agree completely. I haven't bought bananas in ages because my basket is always too full of cherries, nectarines, squash and the like. Thanks for stopping by Grace!

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  8. Hi Katie! I love the new look of your blog. Thanks for sharing this soup recipe. I need a new idea for all the squash that's in season right now. I'm getting a bit tired of zucchini noodles :)

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    1. Hi Lisa, thank you so much! Zucchini noodles sound pretty good too, but I hope you give this soup a try as well. And let me know what you think if you do!

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