I’m not a big fan of “sneaking” vegetables into children’s food–besides the fact that you’re not teaching your kids to like vegetables, you usually can’t sneak in enough to make any nutritional difference. But in the case of this soup, I didn’t start out intending to deceive my daughter. When she asked what I was cooking, I said “chowder,” and she assumed I was trying to replicate the potato chowder we all enjoyed at the End of the Line Cafe last week. She even looked into the pot and should have noticed that about 90 percent of the “potatoes” were bright yellow and had seeds, but if she did, she didn’t say anything. And I, knowing her irrational fear of squash, couldn’t bring myself to set her straight; I was sure that the truth would doom the soup to “yuckiness” in her eyes.
So I never told her. Even after she announced that the “potato” chowder was “better than the restaurant’s–tell them that on the blog, Mom!” Even after she took her small bowl back to the pot for seconds… and thirds. Call me a bad mother, call me a liar, I don’t care: I have a child who just declared a squash soup one of her favorite recipes, so I’m feeling pretty satisfied with myself. And not at all sneaky.
After dinner, I conferred with the resident chowder expert, my New England-educated husband, and we decided that this was more of a soup than a chowder. It’s definitely thick and rich-tasting, but there’s no cream (or cream substitute) and it’s thoroughly pureed rather than chunky. Whatever you call it, it’s good. Use the smallest, most tender yellow summer squash or zucchini you can find, and you’ll be amazed at its fresh, sunny flavor.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small hot pepper, seeds removed and chopped
- 2 ribs celery, strings removed and chopped
- 2 medium (12-14 ounces) gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
- 1 1/2 pounds small yellow squash, chopped (or young zucchini)
- 1 pinch white pepper
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional, for color)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 tablespoon tahini (optional)
- salt and white pepper, to taste (optional)
- Garnish: slivers of red bell pepper
- Heat a large non-stick or enamel-coated pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, covered but stirring every minute or so, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes (add a little water if it tends to stick). Add the garlic and hot pepper and cook for another minute.
- Add all remaining ingredients except the optional ones. Cover and cook until the potatoes are completely tender (they will mash if lightly pressed with a spoon), about 25-40 minutes.
- Remove half of the soup and put it into a blender* and puree at high speed until completely smooth. (Be careful–hot liquids can erupt from your blender; I always remove the center cup from the lid and cover the opening with a kitchen towel.) Once it’s blended, pour the soup into another pot. Add the remaining soup to the blender, along with any optional ingredients you choose to use, and blend well. Add to the other half of the soup, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls, garnish with slices of red bell pepper, and serve.
Nutrition Information is for soup without optional ingredients. With optional ingredients, each serving contains 161 Calories (kcal); 3g Total Fat; (14% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 30g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 34mg Sodium; 7g Fiber; 3mcg B-12.
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