With the arrival of autumn, it is true that we begin to lose all those delicious colorful vegetables that seemed so plentiful just a few weeks ago. But the following months give us the opportunity to really explore some fresh new realms in the kitchen, i.e. amazing soups and stews. Once you get the general techniques down, there are literally endless variations that will keep you and your family happy, warm and well-fed through the winter.
If you are new to the world of homemade soups, it’s best to start simply, with a delicious blended soup. We wanted to jazz things up a little bit, so we decided to start with a soup that is both simple and complex at the same time. By incorporating seven different vegetables into this blended soup, the technique is still relatively easy but the taste is much more nuanced.
So without further ado, let’s first head out to the local supermarket to collect everything you will need.
Seven Vegetable Blended Soup
Makes 2 Quarts
2 medium sweet onions
2 large cloves of garlic
2 large carrots
3 stalks of celery
1 large stalk of broccoli, stem removed
2 medium white or golden sweet potatoes
1 large Delicata squash, peeled and seeded
5-6 cups organic vegetable or chicken broth
salt and pepper
1 small lemon
toasted pumpkin seeds
ground cayenne pepper
Peel and chop all 7 vegetables into a uniform size. This doesn’t have to be perfect, as you will be blending everything, but keeping all the pieces a similar size assures equal cooking time for everything.
Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large high walled pot or rondeau. Add onions, garlic, carrots and celery and season with salt and pepper. Keep stirring so veggies don’t develop any color.
After 5-10 minutes, add celery, broccoli, sweet potato and squash. Re-season slightly and keep moving all vegetables around in the pot to soften but not brown.
After another 5-10 minutes, add the broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until all vegetables are fully soft. Turn off heat and let the pot rest on the stovetop for 10 minutes to cool down slightly.
Now you are ready to blend…
To Vitamix or not to Vitamix
Many people swear by their Vitamix. And I won’t lie, its a lean mean blendin’ machine. If you own one, I highly recommend you use it. But if you happen to still own an old school blender, fear not. You can still make a delicious smooth soup, you just have to pay a little closer attention.
If using the Vitamix, blend in 2 batches, trying to get roughly the same amount of vegetable and broth in each batch. Add just enough liquid to cover the vegetables. You can always add more liquid if need be, but if you add too much, your soup will be too thin.
If using a smaller blender, patience is the virtue! Blend in 5 or 6 batches—the most important thing is to not overcrowd the vegetables so that they can blend smoothly. Pulse vegetables at first to break them down more evenly. A little extra broth or water may be necessary when doing it this way.
As you blend the soup, return each finished batch to a new, clean pot on the stove. Once you have blended all the soup, readjust seasoning with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Reheat soup if necessary and ladle carefully into bowls.
Garnish with the toasted sunflower seeds and a small amount of cayenne pepper (a lot goes a long way!) This soup pairs beautifully with a nice cold glass of Underwood Pinot Gris.
Photography and Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)