Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Soup

Crisp fall days inspire me to brew warm soups and stews. Halloween calls for everything orange, including dinner. It's not hard to find fresh, orange vegetables this time of year. More difficult is finding recipes to please my anti-orange family. While Juniorette and Papa eat just about anything, they are persnickety about Cucurbitaceae, the squash family. Sweet potatoes and carrots don't elicit much excitement either. I happen to love vitamin-A packed veggies, so I've worked extra hard to convert both the polite consumer and the conscientious objector (to put it mildly). Roasted sweet potatoes are a big hit, as is roasted acorn squash dabbled with honey, a tab of butter, and a dash of cinnamon.

For the pre-trick-or-treat gobble down, we came up with a winner:  Halloween Soup. It goes something like this:

1 lb. fresh carrots
1 fennel bulb
2 apples, cored and peeled
1/2 sweet onion, such as Mayan or Vidalia
1 large sweet potato
2 cloves garlic
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 T. olive oil
32 oz. organic low-sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Cube fruit and vegetables in 1/2 in. pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast for 35 minutes at 400 degrees. Transfer the vegetables to a large, heavy bottomed soup pot. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add cinnamon and nutmeg, cover pot, and simmer for 30 minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth.  Simmer for another 10 minutes. Enjoy on its own or with croutons, crumbled feta, roasted walnuts, crisp toast.

By the way, the immersion blender is an amazing tool. Some recipes call for transferring the soup to a regular blender, which is a hot, messy disastrous situation. An immersion blender allows you to blend the soup right in the pot and keep on cooking.

My favorite soup and stew pots are made by Creuset. They're a little expensive, but they're attractive, last a life-time, and heat perfectly.

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