Thursday, November 19, 2009

Southwestern Squash Soup

[Guest Post]
My coworker, Claire, is a great chef too. She cooks with lots of veggies and organic things, and loves to make soups. She is awesome enough to share this soup with us!

This is a great soup for summer and fall. The depth and complexity of flavors and the pairing of squashes with hearty beans make for a soup that is as light and refreshing as it is warm and comforting. Although the ingredients are an unabashed celebration of summer’s abundance, many remain available at farmer’s markets as late as November or can be found in frozen form for the rest of the year. I do not advocate buying from the produce aisle out of season since the quality is typically low while the prices are high. However, if you have a hankering for this soup and can’t find the ingredients in their fresh form, or are simply low on time or budget, the frozen aisle is your friend.

Southwestern Squash Soup
Adapted from The Spiced Life
makes 4-6 servings

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium-large onion, chopped
  • Garlic, minced and as much as you want but no fewer than 2 cloves
  • ¾ tsp oregano (Mexican is ideal but regular oregano works great too)
  • 0.5-1 tbsp ground cumin
  • ½ t ancho chile powder, to taste
  • 32 oz chicken stock or 32 oz water with high quality bouillon cubes
  • 4-6 medium summer squash, sliced into small rounds or cubed. For a tastier and more colorful soup, mix up regular zucchini with crooknecks, yellow squashes, patty pans, cousas… you get the idea.
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, diced. Frozen works well too!
  • Corn from 2 cobs, or frozen equivalent
  • 1 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes, you can roast them yourself but only do this if you have tons to use up or are feeling masochistic. If in season, I like to use sun gold cherry tomatoes along with the fire roasted tomatoes.
  • 4 oz can green chile peppers
  • 1 or 2 14 oz cans of beans, black or pinto or one of each
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
To serve:
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped cilantro
  1. Chop onion, squash and other vegetables, and mince garlic. Keep onion and garlic separate.
  2. Add oil to soup pot and sauté onion until tender.
  3. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  4. Add squash, corn and bell pepper and cook 1-2 minutes. Do not add corn or pepper at this point if you are using frozen versions of these items.
  5. Add stock, broth or bouillon cubes/water, tomatoes, and green chiles. Add oregano, cumin, and chile powder once there is liquid in the pot. Bring to a boil.
  6. Once boiling, add beans and any frozen vegetables you are using (if you want to add sun golds, now is the time!). Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes or until squash is barely tender.
  7. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.
  8. Serve with fresh cilantro and grated cheddar cheese (mild or sharp, both work well).

  1. You can drain the beans or add their liquid. In the case of black beans, their juice will simply add a rich darkness to the red of the tomato juice.
  2. If using sun gold tomatoes, they can be halved or added whole, depending on size or preference.
  3. Add cheese to individual bowls to make clean up easier.
  4. Add cilantro to individual bowls to keep its pretty green color.

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