Meandering down a path of Creativity

Zoe’s Summer Squash Soup

Another squash recipe! It’s gluten-free, it’s vegan, and it uses up a lot of squash! Oh, and it’s pretty darn tasty, too! This soup recipe works great with either just zucchini or a mix of zucchini and crook neck or straight neck yellow summer squash… I’m sure it would work well with patty pan squash, too, but I haven’t tried that yet. It’s also excellent if you add a couple of cloves of minced or chopped garlic in with the onions, but since Mom can’t have garlic, my standard recipe doesn’t include that. Oh, and it fits in with my ‘waste not, want not’ philosophy- you know those giant zucchini that seem to appear overnight, with the giant seeds and tough, spongy flesh? They are perfect for the broth base!

Two giant squash from my garden, with playing cards and veggie peeler for scale

I tried to take some pretty pictures of this, but honestly, my dishes are not photogenic, and this soup looks so pale and bland in them that I couldn’t bring myself to include them! (Note to self- go yard-saling to find a variety of dishes for food photos!)

With squash season in full swing, this is a great recipe to use up a lot of it- and if you’ve got squash in the garden, you’re probably looking for ways to use it up at this point! When I use squash for other recipes, I take the ends and trimmings (washed thoroughly, of course, and no spoiled bits) and put them in a bag in the freezer. When the bag is reasonably full, I know I’ve got enough to make the broth base for this soup. The broth can be canned and saved for later use, just like you would do with any vegetable broth. This soup also freezes very well, which is why I make a such a big batch (actually this recipe is for a half batch of what I normally make).

So, without further ado, here’s how you make it…

What you’ll need:

Tools:

– Large stockpot (at least 6 quarts)

– A second pot (at least 4 quarts)

– A sieve or colander

– A spatula, wooden spoon or other implement to move around boiling veggies and sauteing onion

– A knife

– A cutting board

– An immersion blender (aka stick blender), food processor, blender or other method of pureeing the soup

Ingredients:

1 gallon of water, give or take

4-8 cups of squash scraps (this is a great way to use up those giant squash that are too big for regular eating, due to seeds and texture- just chop them into chunks)

1/2 ounce of dried mushrooms

1 cup chopped onion (sweet is best, but standard onions work well, too)

1 Tbs olive oil

4 c squash chunks (don’t need to be pretty, as they’ll be pureed)

4 c sliced squash (this is a good use for skinny parts or baby squash- they won’t be pureed, so think spoon sized & pretty)

1 Tbs summer savory OR 2 tsp marjoram plus 1 tsp thyme

1 Tbs Italian seasoning blend (I use a mix of basil, oregano and thyme because we aren’t supposed to have rosemary or parsley which is in most pre-made blends)

dash of tarragon (1 shake)

1 tsp celery salt

1 tsp sea salt, or to taste

optional: shredded parmesan or asiago cheese and a few scallions or a small sprig of fresh basil, or a few seasoned croutons for a pretty garnish

What to do:

Put water and squash scraps into the big pot and bring them to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 1 hour.*

Add dehydrated mushrooms to the pot and simmer, covered, another 30 minutes or so. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 20-60 minutes.

If possible, nest your colander or sieve in the other pot and pour the contents of the big pot in, removing the squash and mushrooms.

Put the olive oil in the now empty big pot, and turn heat to medium. Once it’s hot, add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent- about 5 minutes. Add seasonings, except celery salt & sea salt, and cook another 1-2 minutes.

Add squash chunks, celery salt and sea salt.

Discard mushrooms* and squash from the sieve.

Pour the broth from pot 2 into the pot with the onions and herbs. (If you’ll be using an immersion blender to puree, you are now done with pot 2. If you’ll be using a food processor or blender to puree, you will want to be working in batches as you puree, and will probably want to use this pot for that.)

Raise heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, until the squash chunks are completely cooked through and soft. Remove from heat, allow to cool for 5-30 minutes. (This is purely so you don’t burn yourself or damage your equipment.)

Puree in the pot using your immersion blender, or work in batches and puree using your food processor or blender.

Turn heat to medium and add your sliced squash. Cook about 15-30 minutes, until sliced squash is cooked.

*If I’m going to can the broth or if I’m planning to use the mushrooms for another recipe, I remove the lid, let it simmer another 30 minutes or so, and strain out the squash chunks here. If I’m canning it, this broth is what I can, although I do add some seasonings to it, as well.

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