Indoor Sunshine

It is SO.COLD. in Boston this week. I’ve been eating alot of soup, and while it’s easy (and truthfully, fairly yummy and satisfying) to heat up canned soup (I always have Amy’s or Whole Foods soups on hand), tonight I wanted to make some of my own. I’ve been thinking of the squash-broccoli-cauliflower soup concoction that Dad made for Christmas dinner (which was absolutely delightful) for a few weeks now, and the fact that I had a butternut squash in the kitchen that desperately needed to be eaten made my decision for me.  The result was something I am calling Sunshine Soup, because of its sunny color and pleasant warming taste.   A rough version of the recipe (because I sort of made it up as I went along) follows the pictures!

The star ingredients (squash, broccoli, onion, and garlic), mise en place

Simmering away (peas and carrots? ha)

Ready to eat!

This soup is tasty and seriously filling.  I was super-hungry but could only eat the portion shown, plus one slice of whole wheat bread as accompaniment.  The main tastes that stood out to me were the white pepper and the turmeric, with a hint of sweetness from the squash.  Overall it was a little reminiscent of curry (mostly I’m sure because of the turmeric!) and had the slightest hint of spiciness.  Also, I happen to love the strong and distinctive taste of white pepper, but if you don’t like it or haven’t tried it before, I’d recommend skipping it in the recipe.  The broccoli doesn’t actually add much flavor but it definitely adds a nice texture and some solid nutrition.   I have a ton left over, which will be great to pack up and bring to school over the next week.

And as promised, la receta:

1 small butternut squash, peeled and 1″ cubed (or as close as possible to cubed)
1 head of broccoli, stems only, 1″ cubed (or as close as possible to cubed)
1 medium onion, roughly diced
4 small-medium cloves of garlic, cut into strips (see picture above…sort of in the shape of slivered almonds)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (I hardly ever use 2 full tbsp. of oil for cooking, but for this recipe it’s necessary in order to properly “roast” the garlic without burning it)
2 1/4 c. vegetable stock
1 c. water
a boatload of whatever spices you want (I used ground white and black pepper, ground coriander, oregano, turmeric, a bit of garam masala, a bit of cumin, and sea salt, obviously)

Heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Throw in the garlic and push it around with a wooden spoon for a few minutes til it starts to brown (be careful not to burn it!).  Toss in the onion and sautee for 2-3 minutes until it starts to soften.  Add the squash and broccoli and sautee for about 5 minutes, until the mixture seems like it’s getting soft.  Put in whatever spices you are using and stir for another minute.  Add the broth and water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Puree using an immersion blender or in batches using a food processor.   Adjust seasonings as necessary.

Note: If you puree the entire thing, it’s pretty thick.  I reserved about 1/6 of the soup with the veggie chunks in it and pureed the rest, then stirred the brothy chunky part back in at the end, because I wanted it a little more soupy.