Daily Archives: 19 October 2012

ffwd: spur-of-the-moment soup

Soup! I love soup, especially this time of year. As the weather cools off and there’s a chill in the air, soup is just the perfect thing. Also, I love a hot lunch, making soup the perfect thing for lunch.

The selected recipe this week for French Fridays with Dorie was Spur-of-the-Moment Soup, aka Stone Soup. It’s a recipe, but also, in typical Dorie fashion, it is also a jumping off point for making a pot of vegetable soup from what you have on hand.

The book offers a carrot version of the soup. In the fall, I can’t seem to leave a farmers market, farm stand or grocery store without yet another winter squash in hand, so the natural choice was for me to make a winter squash version of the soup.

I’ve seen a couple of new (to me) varieties of winter squash around this year. One I found this week is Sunshine, a variety of Kabocha squash. Another is Rugosa, an Italian heirloom variety that looks like a wrinkly butternut squash. That’s what I used for my spur-of-the-moment soup. The squash has a thick skin, so I used a pound of squash flesh, after I’d seeded and peeled it.

Rugosa Squash

Chopped aromatic vegetables (onion, celery, and garlic) are softened in butter along with the squash. I also added a large sprig of thyme along with a large sprig of sage. Once the vegetables are softened, a chopped potato is added, along with chicken broth, and everything simmers until the potato is soft. The soup could be left chunky or pureed. I opted to puree the soup in the blender because that’s the texture I prefer.

The resulting soup had a nice squashy flavor. I prefer this kind of soup a little thicker, so would add less broth next time, maybe only a quart, but otherwise, it’s a keeper. As described, this “stone soup” is the perfect back-pocket sort of recipe to pull out to make as soup from whatever vegetables are on hand.

To accompany the soup and make a satisfying meal, I made a cheese quesadilla to go with it. For me, the ingredients are pantry items, and I can usually throw one together even when it seems like the cupboard is bare.

Cheese Quesadilla
Makes one (multiply as needed)

1 flour tortilla (whole wheat is nice)
1 oz cheese, grated (my favorite is pepper jack, but cheddar or plain jack are both good)
1 large spoonful of salsa

In a skillet set over medium heat, melt a small pat of butter. Place the tortilla in the skillet and swirl in around to coat the bottom with melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. When the cheese is almost melted, drizzle salsa over the cheese. Fold the tortilla in half. Be gentle, you don’t want to the fold to break. If the bottom of the tortilla is nicely browned and the cheese is melted, it’s ready. If the tortilla isn’t browned, let it cook for a few more minutes, flipping it over so both sides are browned. Remove to a cutting board and slice in half or quarters.

If you’d like to try making this soup, you can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To see the end result for the other FFWD bloggers, check out their links here.