10 things I love about soup.
1. Soup is fed to people who are sick and it makes them feel better, so it must be a magical potion.
2. Soup can be made in advance, preserved in a jar or a can and saved for a rainy day.
3.Soup is PERFECT for rainy days.
4. Soup is forgiving. Too salty? Add a potato to absorb the overpowering salt flavor. An unexpected guest for lunch? Add another cup of broth. Too hot? It will always cool. What a lesson from soup, right? No matter how hot it gets, when removed from the heat, it will always cool. I'm going to drive this one home: no matter how hot any situation gets, when removed from the heat, it will always cool.
5. Soup is comforting which makes me feel loved and cared for, which makes me feel safe. Soup is like a hug for my insides.
6. Soup takes time. Yes, I can throw a bunch of vegetables and water into a pot, quickly boil them and call it soup, but I kind of just have the essence, right? If I layer the flavors, giving them time to develop, I will be rewarded with a concentrated, more potent pot of goodness.
7. Soup is international. Pozole, Tom Ga Ka, French Onion, Egg Drop, Minestrone, Sambar, Clam Chowder, Borscht, Gumbo, Matzo Ball, Pho, Gazpacho, Cioppino, Ramen, Avgolemono, Miso, Chicken Noodle - the list is endless. Pick a nation/nationality/destination and let that dictate a menu one night.
8. The brilliance of Sesame Street's Grover "fly in my soup" sketch
9. The story of Stone Soup. Travellers come to a village with no possessions, only an empty pot. The villagers are too stingy to share any of their food. The travellers fill the pot up with water and put a stone in it, calling it Stone Soup. The villagers get curious and want in on the action. They are convinced that a little contribution and a little garnish from each of them will be just the perfect addition. The soup gets more and more flavorful with every little bit. Then everyone gets to enjoy the soup together. I hadn't heard the story in long time but I think about it often. All we need to do is give a little and we can take care of the whole village. I researched the story and in other countries it is called Nail Soup and Axe Soup. Talk about hard to swallow!
10. Soup is often a starter. It holds the promise of the rest of the meal. It's a theme setter. I serve it first as a 'welcome to my table' course. Everyone knows right off the bat they are prized guests.
And here's a bonus thing I love about soup:
11. Soup has seasons. Spring for me is fresh pea and tarragon. Summer is gazpacho. Winter is a minestrone. And dunh - da duh - dunh - FALL!
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons dukkah
Heat the oil in a big pot over medium heat. Add the first 4 ingredients, stir. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Add broth and cider. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 more minutes. Remove form heat and let cool slightly. Puree in batches in a blender or in the pot with a hand blender until smooth. Stir in the dukkah spice. Garnish with fried sage leaves.
*If kabocha is unavailable you may substitute butternut, acorn, delicata, or any other hard skinned squash.