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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

redemption...sweet squash pepper redemption

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The cheese incident yesterday was not boding well for my cooking this week....the lingering odour when I got home from work today had me wishing we had one of those ionizing air filters to rid the house of all vestiges and memories of that putrified dairy product.

But today brought new food and new scents to the kitchen. Lovely, sweet, veggie scents. Soupy yummy scents. The taste and colour of spring, providing a bright spot in a dim, dreary winter.

Is there anything more cozy-smelling than soup bubbling away on the stove-top?

I'd argue there isn't (though roast turkey comes close). Soup is such a warm, filling comfort food....and puréed vegetable soup is a personal favourite of mine. When I was trying to come up with our menu plan this week, I was flipping through Cooking Light and came across a pumpkin-yellow pepper soup recipe that someone else has been so kind to post on RecipeZaar for your perusal. What attracted me to this recipe was not the pumpkin, but the fact that it could be adapted to use the 400g block of no-longer-frozen squash I had sitting in my fridge. Initially I defrosted it, thinking to use it in ravioli...but then I filled my ravioli with crab and had this squash.....sitting purposeless...

So I made squash pepper soup with smoked paprika. And while I was in the midst of making it, I decided that parsley leaves (initial garnish idea) were boring, and that persillade was the thing to top this soup. Persillade is kind of like a French version of pesto - fresh herbs, garlic, lemon and salt. Very simple, but a little blast of fresh flavour and a flash of colour.

Also, the initial recipe called for pumpkin seeds (that my discount grocery store didn't have) so I used wee little sunflower seeds to make mine look pretty. I served this with my classic green salad (using baby arugula and a red wine vinaigrette) and a few little cherry tomatoes. Yum. Hubs says two thumbs up. I concur. If you like soup, you'll love this. The bonus is that it offered me a chance to use a little bit more of the fabulous smoked paprika I bought a couple of weeks ago.

You should all throw out your regular paprika right now. Toss it! Find yourself some good spanish smoked stuff and you'll never look back. Ever. Again. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmy.

Sweet Squash Pepper Redemption with Persillade
1 T olive oil
3.5 cups chopped yellow pepper (about 3 medium)
1.5 cups chopped carrot (about 2 big ones)
1 chopped red pepper
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
3/4 t smoked paprika (I used bittersweet)
900 mL low-sodium broth (I used chicken, you could use whatever) (about 3.5 cups)
16oz/400g container squash purée
2 T lemon juice
black pepper to taste

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add peppers, carrot and onion. Sauté for about 10 minutes, until the veggies are softened and *just* starting to fuse to the pan.
Yellow pepper, carrot and red pepper

2. Add garlic and smoked paprika and stir to combine.

Bittersweet smoked paprika

3. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes (or until veggies are soft). *If you're making persillade, now is a good time to do it. :)

4. Using an immersion blender, purée the softened veggies until relatively smooth. Add the squash and lemon juice and purée a little more. I like my soups relatively thick, so this was a perfect texture for me. If you like your soup thinner, simply add a little more broth or water and blend a little more. Yummy! Heat through.

To serve, top with persillade and a few sunflower seeds. This will warm you up on a winter night fo sho.

1/3 cup (packed) flat leaf parsley
1/2 t lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t fleur de sel
3 T olive oil


Put everything in a container and blend away. :) You can drizzle this on chicken, fish, or soups. I've actually had it on pizza (with sliced cooked potato) and it was amazing. I need to do that again sometime....

Squash Pepper Soup with Persillade

This dinner totally redeems yesterday's mess. I can't wait for soupy goodness for lunch tomorrow. :) Provided, of course, it doesn't explode all over my briefcase before I get to work...stay tuned for indian-mexican fusion tomorrow....chipotle....tandoori...shall the twain ever meet?

Thanks for reading!


Anonymous said...

Great photos tonight!

Ferda said...

oooh purrrdy

Anonymous said...

Looks delicious! From start to finish, how long did it take to cook?

-first_2b_aBride from WB

Anonymous said...

Your soup looks delish!
I want to try this out sometime, just have to get myself an immersion blender...

Freya said...

I love the Persilade idea! Genius!

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