Don’t be scared: this only looks like pond scum. I promise you, it tastes much better. (Not that I know what pond scum tastes like…)
I bought my copy of Anna Thomas’s Love Soup some months ago and simply haven’t had time to cook anything from it. This is sad, and not a reflection on Anna at all – most of her recipes are very easy and tempting. It’s just that my schedule has been so hectic that I feel like I’ve barely sat down since mid-October. If nothing else, that fact alone means I’m crying out for some homemade soup, which in my book is about the most comforting, lovely food imaginable. Of course, when I finally got the opportunity to make myself some soup, I found I had misplaced my copy of Love Soup. (It’s probably in my den buried under the 36 bottles of wine that hubby and I bought in California.) No worries, though – I knew exactly what kind of soup I wanted… green soup! Anna touts her green soup – which is actually a whole category of pureed soups with some sort of dark leafy green – as a perfect post-holiday cure-all. She’s not kidding. I made this fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants version of Anna’s green soup, sans cookbook, and it was delicious – light but also warming, comforting, nutritious and tasty. The perfect January food, in my opinion.
2 Carnival squash, tops lopped off and seeds scooped out
extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 shallot, minced
1 carton (4 cups) vegetable broth
1 bunch Swiss Chard, stems trimmed out and leaves julienned
2-3 cups water
salt and pepper for seasoning
2 tablespoons Ricotta cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. After preparing the Carnival squash (that just happened to be the variety I had laying around the kitchen, left over from a farmers market visit – but you can substitute any hard winter squash), dress them with a generous drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast squash for 45 minutes, then remove from oven to cool.
- While squash is cooling, warm a glug of extra-virgin olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the minced shallots and sprinkle with salt; stir occasionally until softened and slightly caramelized (about 5-8 minutes).
- Trim the skin from the cooled Carnival squash and large-dice the squash flesh. Add to the softened shallots and stir briefly. Pour vegetable broth over squash and shallots and stir to deglaze the pot. Add julienned Swiss Chard leaves and stir to combine.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and cover pot. Allow soup to cook for 30 minutes, until flavors meld and squash and greens are completely soft. Turn off heat and process the soup in a blender or food processor, or in the pot with an immersion blender (my choice) if you have one.
- Add water and cook soup on medium heat for another 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. The soup is good as-is, but if you would like a little creaminess, stir in up to 2 tablespoons of Ricotta cheese.
Source: Adapted from Anna Thomas’s Love Soup.