For a few years now Allan has made soup.
It started with a soup club at his school - each person made soup once every few weeks and then every Wednesday you had a hot bowl of soup and some bread for lunch.
Until then we had little experience making soup and it always felt daunting (and we were always making it in big volumes). One memorable night as we were making soup for 60 the power went out and we made it on the camping stove on the floor in the kitchen!!
And we pretty much always made the same recipe. (and by we I mean we - I peeled and chopped but Allan has the magic seasoning touch and knew what order to do things in etc.).
But when we started making soup weekly for our home group we knew we had to broaden our repertoire - there was only so much butternut soup anyone could eat!
And so Allan has become an amazing soup chef. I think he went 12 weeks without one soup repeat! And other than one "meh" carrot soup every one has been delicious. In fact I almost started a Soup Blog with recipes and photos! Last November he offered up soup for sale towards the Mo-vember Prostate Cancer campaign and it sold out within 2 hours!
Maybe it's the scientist in him but Allan has really understood the chemical balances that good soup needs - he knows when he needs more stock or more acid (like lemon juice or balsamic vinegar) or more sugar. More herbs, more "heat".........
He seems to have that sixth sense about what the soup needs.
I have been flying solo with the soup since the early Spring and fortunately had lots of help! But I am back to the basics. Back to butternut..... but I did make my own stock for it and most of the chopping and cooking myself. Allan did the seasoning.
I think making soup is a process, its about layers of flavours, its about a balance of seasonings, it takes time and patience and preparation..........it's no simple thing.
There is a Yiddish saying "Troubles are easier to take with soup than without." As we have built community around bowls of soup we know the comfort that a steaming bowl of soup shared with friends can be.
Allan’s Amazing Soup
(aka Curried Butternut Squash Soup)
For 8 servings:
6 cups of vegetable stock
3 cups chopped butternut squash
1 small onion, chopped
1 large potato, cubed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp brown sugar
curry powder, to taste
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 cup cream
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
1. In a large pot, bring the stock to the boil.
2. Add the squash, onion, potato, bay leaf, sugar, curry powder, basil, oregano, cinnamon, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
3. Continue boiling until the squash and potato are tender.
4. Discard bay leaf.
5. Puree the soup with a hand blender or in a food processor.
6. When blended add the juice of a couple lemons or a splash of balsamic vinegar to "brighten" the soup
7. Gently fold in cream and parsley and serve. ( we generally skip this step these days and we don't miss the cream)
If you needed further motivation.......
a factoid that was presented in Barbara Kingsolver's Book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: if every U.S. citizen (add Canadian citizens too) ate one meal per week from local, organic food, we would save 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. Just one meal. 1.1 million barrels per week. One meal. Local vegetable soup - DONE!