Farm Fresh: Spicy Celery Root Soup

Image courtesy of Blake Royer

Image courtesy of Blake Royer

With no less than 8 ugly celery roots residing in my refrigerator, I needed a recipe. With the cool autumn weather settling in, this warm and hearty soup caught my eye. The chile adds a pleasing warmth for cool, damp days.

Ingredients
1 Medium onion, finely chopped
1 Red chile, finely chopped and seeds removed (leave some or all of the seeds for a spicier soup)
2 -3 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Ground coriander
1 1/2 lbs Celeriac, peeled,trimmed and cut into cubes
3 Cups Chicken broth
1 Cup Water
Salt & freshly ground black pepper (I use 1 tsp salt and 1/2-3/4 tsp pepper)
1/3 Cup Light cream
Fresh coriander or parsley for garnish, chopped

In a large pot, sauté the onion, chili and garlic in olive oil for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat. Stir in the cumin and coriander, and season with salt and pepper. Add the celeriac, chicken broth and water.

Bring up to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pan and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or just until the celeriac is cooked.

Remove from the heat and use a handblender or food processor to puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the cream, adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed,and ladle into bowls. Top with a few chopped coriander or parsley leaves if desired, and serve immediately.

Alternately, allow the soup to cool, pour into pint sized wide-mouth jars or other freezer safe containers and freeze.

Adapted from Creamy Curried Celery Root Soup and Celeriac Soup with Coriander and Chiles.

Farm Fresh: Hearty Butternut Squash Soup

Photo courtesy of Taste of Home

Photo courtesy of Taste of Home

I’m quite a bit behind on my “Farm Fresh” posts for the year. Luckily, the early fall produce we received in our CSA shares at the end of the season will be available for a few more months.

I’ve never had much of an interest in squash. With the exception of a newly discovered affinity for acorn squash filled with butter and brown sugar, I still don’t enjoy it much. Receiving two large butternut squash in our CSA share felt like the universe challenging me to really give it a chance. My mother taught me to try at least one bite of everything put in front of me, and I’ve learned through experience that tastes change and it’s possible to find at least one method to make almost any food edible (and sometimes even enjoyable). Apparently, butternut squash was made for soup! This one is smooth, creamy, rich, slightly spicy, and extremely flavorful. It is one of my favorite soups. I made one batch to try, and a second days later to freeze. We finished up the last of it a few days ago and I’m making yet another batch for the freezer. This soup has become a staple in my house!

Ingredients
1 pound Italian sausage
1 medium Onion, chopped
1 medium Red bell pepper, chopped
4 Garlic cloves, minced
1 large Butternut squash (about 5 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 package (16 ounces) Frozen cauliflower
4 cups Chicken broth
1 cup cooked great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup frozen corn (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Light cream and minced fresh parsley (optional)

In a large pot, cook the sausage, onion and red pepper over medium heat 9-11 minutes or until the sausage is no longer pink and the onion is tender, breaking the sausage into crumbles. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Remove with a slotted spoon; discard drippings.

Add the squash, cauliflower, and chicken broth to the same pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 15-20 minutes or until squash is tender.

Remove from heat and cool slightly. Process in batches in a blender until smooth. Return the mixture to the pot. Add beans, tomatoes, salt, pepper, sausage mixture and corn (if desired); heat through. If desired, drizzle servings with cream and sprinkle with parsley. Yield: 12 servings (4-1/2 quarts).

Freeze option: Freeze cooled soup in wide-mouth quart-sized jars. To use, partially thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if necessary.

Adapted from Hearty Butternut Squash Soup in Taste of Home September/October 2013, p3-6.

Vegetable Laksa (Thai Coconut Curry Noodles)

I consider myself a relatively adventurous eater (thanks Mom!). Growing up, I had to take at least one bite of everything, every single time it was put in front of me. I didn’t have to like it, and I definitely didn’t have to eat it if I hated it, but I had to try everything. To this day, I will try almost anything that’s put in front of me, although I’ve learned through trial and error that some things are never going to taste good (mayonnaise, pickled eggs).

Despite my adventurous palate, I rarely go seeking out new things to try. I’ll taste them if put in front of me, but left to my own devices I’ll happily eat the same things over and over. My definition of “the same things” changed radically when my college thesis advisor took all of her advisees out to an Indian restaurant. I ordered Chicken Tikka, moderately hot, and instantly fell in love. I can’t believe it took me 30 years to find Indian food! All things Indian and curry are now part of my regular rotation. In my search for new dishes, I came across this delightful (and delightfully easy!) soup. It’s hard to believe that it’s gluten and dairy free, relatively healthy, and amazingly flavorful!

Laksa is a spicy coconut-based soup originating from Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Laksa is a spicy coconut-based soup originating from Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

I absolutely loved this dish, but Boyfriend only gave it 2 stars. He had a cold at the time and couldn’t taste anything though, so I may try it again and ask for a new rating.

**To make this vegetarian, omit the chicken broth and use 2 cups of boiling water.

Ingredients:
2/3 package Rice noodles (about 4.5 oz)
2 Tbsp peanut oil (other vegetable oil may be substituted)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips (optional)
2oz Thai red curry paste (store bought or homemade)
1 can Coconut milk
1 Cup chicken broth
1 Cup boiling water
2-3 Cups mixed vegetables, cut into thin strips (I used carrots, zucchini, and red/green bell pepper)
handful fresh basil leaves

Chicken Sautee

Raw Vegetables

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Soften noodles as directed on package. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. If you are using chicken, add it to the oil and cook until it is just browned. Add curry paste and stir fry for 30 seconds. Quickly add coconut milk, chicken broth, and boiling water. Bring to a boil and add vegetables. Simmer for 2 minutes or until vegetables are cooked to your liking.

To serve, add noodles to each serving bowl. Pour soup and vegetables over noodles and top with basil leaves.

NOTES: I love garlic and heat, so I added a minced garlic clove and a bit of ground red pepper to mine. This would also be wonderful made with shrimp instead of chicken.

STORAGE: If you have leftovers, place the noodles in a container, lay a wet paper towel over the top, and cover with a lid. Moisten the paper towel when it dries out (once every 1-2 days). Store the soup in a separate container.

REHEATING: Put soup in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Add the noodles and heat for 30-45 seconds more.

Adapted from Veggie Laksa by Zen Family Habits.