Be Inspired Seasonally with Rita Calvert
This week we continue with that great participation party. Of course, even in a Soup Share party, we had to have dessert. Nam-Hari in the above photo thought the grand finale was so sweet, she had to like the plate to prove it as her sweetie, Christopher, laughs with the rest of us! We also had to fit in some green and leafy items, so a salad added delightful texture within all of the soups (see photo below). The final soup inspiration recipes are here to round out the six different potages in our soiree.
Roasted Hubbard Squash Soup with Hazelnuts & Chives
If you can’t find Espelette pepper, use just a pinch of cayenne instead. The soup keeps for 3 days in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
- 1 small (5-1/2- to 6-lb.) Hubbard squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large leek (white and light-green parts only), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
- Kosher salt
- 5 cups lower-salt chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and chopped
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
- Several small pinches Espelette pepper or cayenne
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF. Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
In a mortar and pestle, pound the oil, garlic, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and sage until they resemble a coarse paste. Rub the spice mixture on the flesh of the squash halves. Set them cut side down on the prepared pan and roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Let cool, cut side up. When cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh away from the rind—you’ll need about 5 cups.
Melt the butter in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leek, carrots, and a big pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leek is softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the squash, broth, bay leaf, and 1 tsp. salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes to develop the soup’s flavor.
Remove the bay leaf and allow the soup to cool slightly. Purée the soup in batches in a blender. Return the soup to the pot and add the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with the chopped hazelnuts, chives, and Espelette pepper or cayenne.
Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes
As an extraordinary vegetarian chili containing sweet potatoes, black and pinto beans, peppers and cocoa powder, this is a delicious, hearty and healthy vegan meal. (You won't miss the meat).
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced, or 1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on how spicy you like your chili)
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ground sea salt and black pepper
- about 28-ounces canned diced tomatoes, including the liquid*
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- about 2 cups OR one 14 oz. can vegetable broth
- garnishes: sour cream, sliced scallions, sliced radishes (optional)
In a 4 to 6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot, sautée the chopped vegetables (onion, peppers and sweet potatoes) in one to two tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat. You’ll need to stir the ingredients every few minutes so they can cook evenly.
Once the onions start turning translucent, turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the garlic and spices (chili powder, cumin, cayenne, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and a dash of salt and pepper) and canned ingredients (tomatoes, beans and broth), and stir. Cover and cook for 45 minutes up to two hours, stirring occasionally.
By the time your chili is done, the sweet potatoes should be nice and soft and the liquid should have reduced a bit. Season chili with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the chili into individual bowls, garnish as desired and serve.
Curried Split-Pea Soup with Parsnips
Green split peas are used a bit differently here as first they are cooked down to thicken the soup and make a rich base. Yellow split peas or lentils can be traded for the green splits. The soup is even more flavorful the next day. This soup freezes beautifully.
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups dried green split peas
- 2 large bay leaves
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 4 parsnips, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon curry powder, if desired, plus additional for garnish
- Dash Sriracha sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
Place 8 cups broth the split peas and bay leaf in a 4-quart Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until split peas are very soft and thicken the soup-about 45 minutes.
Add the carrot, onion and celery; cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Add the parsnips, curry powder, Sriracha and cook for 20 minutes longer. (Add additional liquid if the soup gets too thick.)
Add the garlic and remove the bay leaf. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle each with a dash of curry powder.