Monday, June 29, 2009

Squash & Fennel Soup

source: It's so simple to make. I think the hardest part is peeling the squash. Once that's done, it only takes ten or fifteen minutes to throw all the ingredients into the pot. Walk away for an hour and come back and blend. It doesn't get any easier. Here's how: In a soup pot, pour a little olive oil or non-hydrogenated vegan "butter" and allow to warm on medium. Add five or six cloves of minced garlic and a red onion, diced. Chop a carrot or two and one or two stalks of celery and add to the garlic/onion mix. Stir on medium for a few minutes. Meanwhile, peel the beautiful winter squash. I actually use a sharp vegetable knife rather than a peeler. If the skins are thick, I find a knife just works better. Cut the squash into cubes and toss into the mix. Wash and dice a fennel bulb and add to the mix. I get beautiful fennel at the Venice Market and use the entire plant from bulb to leaf, but if you're in a place where all you can find is the bulb, that'll do just fine. Cover the veggies with water and turn heat to almost high. Throw in one or two cubes of veggie bouillon and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Turn off the heat, add a splash of maple syrup, some sea salt to taste, fresh ground pepper to taste, and if you have access to a Japanese market, this wonderful condiment called "nanami togarashi" is the secret ingredient for this soup. It's a blend of chilis, black sesame, seaweed and citrus, and I find it gives this creamy, sweet and licoricy soup a wonderful hint of exotic spice. Blend the soup with a Braun hand blender or in a food processor until smooth, and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Just looking at this soup will make you feel good.

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