Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Soup Season! First up: Spicy Squash & Bean Soup

The colder it gets, the more I just want to cuddle up on the couch with a hot bowl of soup. There is definitely a season for soup, and we are getting deep in it. I made this hearty soup last week and it lasted Brad and me about 4 days. I put the whole pot in the fridge and would take a bowl full, heat it up for lunch or dinner (or both!) and indulge. It's so nice to have a homemade soup prepared for the week.

For this soup, I got inspiration from a few different recipes I saw on various food blogs. I like to take bits and pieces from different recipes and then create my own. One recipe I saw used butternut squash and another used delicata squash. When I was at the store, I couldn't seem to decide between the two so I used both, naturally. Butternut squash is commonly used in making soup because it tends not to be stringy; it tastes somewhat similar to sweet potatoes. A quick note: the oranger the color of the squash, the riper, drier and sweeter it will be. Delicata squash is one of the tastier winter squashes; it has a creamy pulp that tastes almost like corn and sweet potatoes.

Delicata on the left, Butternut on the right

Enough about squash, let's get to the recipe...

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ginger powder (or freshly grated)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 cups cubed butternut squash
2 cups cubed delicata squash
1 bay leaf
4 cups vegetable broth
(1) 15.5 oz can black beans
(1) 15.5 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
(1) 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
shelled pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, red pepper, carrots, jalapeno and garlic and cook on medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Mix in the salt, chili powder, ginger, cayenne pepper and cinnamon and stir for about 1 to 2 minutes. This mixture should smell amazing... spicy and sweet. Once the veggies are evenly coated with the spices, add the rest of the ingredients, except for the pumpkin seeds: the squash, bay leaf, vegetable broth, beans and crushed tomatoes. Bring this to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer for about a half hour, stirring occasionally. You want the squash to be soft and tender, but not too soft where it gets mushy.

Once the soup is ready, spoon some into a bowl and garnish with pumpkin seeds. I love the crunch that the pumpkin seeds add to the soup, plus I think they look really cute.

Leftover soup makes for a great quick lunch or dinner.

More soup recipes to come....


1 comment:

  1. looks amazing cara! serve me a bowl! i'm at work starving...lol