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Saturday, October 30, 2010

2nd Hand Soup

This soup came from my mom who'd had a delicious bowl called Navajo Vegetable Soup in restaurant and decided to try making it at home. She told me about it on the phone and I thought I'd give it a try as well. It is basically a vegetable soup but with American Indian/southwestern flavors . The soup is made up of squash, beans and corn, the trinity of native american cooking. There is also some jalapeno and Green Tabasco sauce to give it just enough heat to take it from boring to "I need more."

I'm going to simply give you a basic recipe and you can change it how you like. For example, my mom used a green pepper, I chose a red one for mine. It starts like any vegetable soup, sweat some onion and garlic in a large pot.... add your vegetables, seasoning and broth and let everything simmer and cook until the squash is tender. I guarantee all veggies will be done by that time. The only thing somewhat odd is that we add the whole can of corn, not drained. It seems that the little bit of sweet liquid from the can of corn helps round out all the flavors.

There's a lot of chopping to be done but it is worth it! You can use any squash but I find that a butternut is easiest to peel and dice. But you will probably only need half of it. There's tons of stuff you can do with the other half, so don't worry about it. I tried it with an acorn and it was just too much work to peel that sucker. But whatever works for you. You can even buy raw squash that's already prepped for you at Whole Foods, it just costs a million dollars a pound.

Here's the basic goods:

1 medium onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup, squash, peeled and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, small dice
1 zucchini, small dice (optional)
1 jalapeno, teeny dice
-1 can beans, rinsed and drained. (My mom used red beans, I like black because they are smaller and less mealy)
-1 can corn niblets - you could use fresh, but canned works well here
32 to 48 oz low-sodium chicken broth (Swanson is my fave)
-Cilantro, a few sprigs in to cook with the vegetables and some chopped for garnish
-Seasoning, (I have a Penzey's blend, called Arizona that I like) but what's basically in it is: ground ancho chile, cumin, cayenne, paprika - you can play here, just don't use a heavy hand

*Green Tabasco sauce

Sweat the onion until translucent, add the garlic. Do not allow to brown, you just want soft)

Add your squash dice and saute a little bit Add some seasoning, salt and pepper. Toss in the peppers and zucchini. Add your canned beans, corn and a couple sprigs of cilantro, then the broth. You will need to eyeball the broth. You can always add more. Just make it how you like it.

Let everything come up to a boil and then reduce heat and allow to simmer until the squash is very tender (about 1/2 an hour or longer, depending on the size of the squash dice.) Hit it with a few dashes of Tabasco and taste for seasoning. Besides the kick of heat from the Tabasco, it also gives a spark of acid to the broth that really helps. But don't forget you added a jalapeno!

Of course some diced, cooked chicken could also be added if you like. And it also could be made vegetarian using vegetable broth (but I'm not too crazy about the flavor of that.)

Simple, right? And good and hearty and nutritious. You can't go wrong! And, like most soups, it tastes even better the next day. So all that work chopping one day will pay you back the next by providing another meal, labor-free.

Please try this one! I think you'll be really happy with what you make.


haribo sweets said...

Interesting recipe! I like it that you can do variations of it. I want to try it as well. Thanks for you and your mom for sharing the recipe. :)

Doug Barnard said...

Tried making this before but couldn't get the food texture quite right. This recipe worked perfect, thanks!

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