Sunday Soups

We are in hard core pare down mode as we prep for moving.  If you recall, last time we moved, we had to rent a second truck.  Minimalist fail.  I mean seriously.  So this time, even with an additional child, we are hoping to move way less stuff.

In the name of downsizing, we limited our spending for the month of October.  We really do this most of the time since I stay home, but for sure we have been much more inclined to stay in as opposed to grabbing food or coffees on the go when we travel.  Our fridge is pretty close to empty, and thanks to our accidental deep freeze thaw, we have cleaned out the freezer as well.  We’re down to a few whole chickens and a few pounds of grass fed beef.  Huzzah!

As a result of cleaning out the cabinets, I found two really simple, really delicious soup recipes that use a handful of ingredients but still manage to taste impressive.  These are NOT 30 minute meals–they take about an hour each, but they double and freeze nicely and are mostly hands off, so they make a great weekend food to make for lunches throughout the week.  I like to call them Sunday Soups because they’re perfect for those days when you have time to spend a little more time in the kitchen on a cool afternoon.

Simple White Bean Soup
adapted from this one

This is a hearty, filling, creamy soup without using any dairy.  It manages to taste better than your average bean soup, thanks to the citrus at the end.  This makes a huge pot of soup!  Like a gallon.

What you need:

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 6 15 oz. cans cannellini beans, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon each Salt and pepper
  • 3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice (don’t omit this)

What to do:

Thinly dice your onion, celery, carrots and garlic.  (I used minced garlic and I put the rest of them through the Salad Shooter.  I still swear by that thing.)

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.  Add the diced onions and cook until translucent, then add the celery, carrot, garlic and bay leaves and continue to cook 10 minutes or until they have softened.

Pour the broth into the pot, add the beans and the salt and pepper.  Bring the soup to a boil and let soup simmer for 30-45 minutes or until your veggies are completely soft.

Remove the bay leaves from the soup and puree.  Stir in lemon or lime juice and add more salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from this one

I am not a fan of squash soups for the most part.  I’m all about dessert, but I don’t like sweet things involved with my dinner.  This one is savory and delicious, not sweet at all, and ends up with almost a potato soup like texture.  I doubled the recipe and I must admit not a whole lot went into the freezer.  Delicious.

Ingredients
– 1 medium squash
– 6+ cloves garlic (I used minced)
– yellow onion
– extra virgin olive oil
– 4 fresh thyme sprigs, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
– 4 cups chicken stock
– salt & pepper
– 1/4 cup 1/2 and 1/2, cream, or cream cheese (optional; I use cream cheese in soups instead of cream because, while I love the creaminess, the lactose in cream and half & half give me and Silas bellyaches)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds. Place on baking sheet, and fill empty cavities with at least 3 cloves garlic and 2 thyme sprigs or 1/2 tsp dried thyme each. Then drizzle halves with olive oil (or spray with Misto) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Carefully flip the squash over on its belly so the cut side is down, being careful to keep the garlic and thyme underneath. Roast for about one hour, until it’s nice and tender and caramelized (you can check this with a fork – if it sinks into squash with ease and the skin looks wrinkly, it’s done!  I took mine out a smidge too early when I only used the fork test).

Meanwhile, caramelize onions in a little olive oil using a medium pot on medium heat.  Once the squash is finished roasting, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for a bit.  Toss the roasted garlic into the soup pot with onions and discard the thyme sprigs if you used them.

Scoop out the squash flesh from the skin (be gentle, because the skin tears super easily). Dump squash into the pot and turn up the heat, allowing the squash to caramelize a bit. Break up the squash with a spoon and stir it so it doesn’t stick to the pot.

After the squash is nicely caramelized, add the chicken stock to the pot. Stir, and allow it to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Remove from heat and add 1/2 and 1/2, if you’re using it! Taste, and add salt & pepper as needed.

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