Thursday, January 02, 2014

Week 1: Creamy Cajun Zucchini & Potato Soup

During fall and winter I make a big pot of soup almost every Sunday. A warm hearty soup goes a long way on a cold winter’s night, especially when you find yourself short on time. Preparing it in advance means you always have at least one meal ready to roll after a hard day’s work. And since I already spend a lot of time in the kitchen on Sunday preparing the family meal, it’s not an inconvenience. And the bonus is that the when the kids come for Sunday dinner, they can take away their own Mason jar of soup to have during the week.

This week’s new recipe has an unknown origin, but various versions can be found on the web. I modified it a bit to suit my tastes and what I had on hand, adjusting several ingredients, including the herbs. I much prefer to use fresh herbs, and I think they lend a better flavor to dishes than dried. Because I have a year-round herb bed, this is an easy substitution, but I have listed the comparable dry ingredients to use as well.

This is a very easy recipe to prepare and can be completed in about 45-50 minutes from start to finish. It is a vegetarian dish but could be made for vegan diets as well, substituting almond or soy milk for the heavy cream. Because these two ingredients are thinner liquids, I would add an extra potato or two in the beginning to achieve the thicker consistency of this soup.

This is not really a spicy soup, and can be served to kids. Should you want to amp it up, you could add or serve the soup with some good old Cajun hot sauce.

Creamy Cajun Zucchini & Potato Soup

2 tablespoons salted butter
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
2 medium zucchini, sliced
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons fresh minced basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning salt (plain salt will also work)
1 cup heavy cream

Melt butter in a large stock pot. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes and zucchini and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add broth, herbs and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Puree soup with an immersion blender. Add cream and salt to taste and heat thoroughly. (Do not boil.)

Servings: 6

No comments: