Friday, August 1, 2008
Summer squash has been hiding at the back of my veggie drawer for the past two weeks. I usually grill it up, but I've been insanely busy and relatively meat free, and hence my grill has been in hibernation. I came across this recipe from Smitten Kitchen and I just had to try this summer squash-sweet potato combination. Of course, being me, this barely resembles Deb's recipe, but I sure am glad she inspired me to try it!
Let me tell you- this soup is dreamy! Silky smooth, rich and full of flavor, it showcases the best flavors of what's in season right now! After blending, it was already delicious, with no spices added. I needed something to take it over the top, and Maryland's favorite Old Bay does just that! The creaminess of this reminds me of a lobster or crab bisque. I myself gave a little gasp when I saw for the amount of butter called for, but it gives the soup a lovely finish, and really isn't much when divided into 8 portions.
Maryland Summer Vegetable Bisque
1 pint grape tomatoes
6 Tbsp butter
2/3 large sweet onion, sliced thin
1 cup leeks, sliced into thin rings
2 slices center cut bacon, chopped fine (optional - leave out for vegetarian version)
3 medium sized summer squash, sliced thin
1 large sweet potato or yam, peeled and sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1 cup baby carrots
1 Tbsp pork soup base (leave out for vegetarian)
1/2 cup dry sherry
3 bay leaves
6 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian)
salt to taste (I used about 2 tsp)
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 pyrex baking dish. Empty tomatoes into dish and roast until softened, caramelized and somewhat dehydrated. Set aside.
In a large stockpot, melt butter over medium high heat. Let butter cook until the solids brown slightly and the rest takes on a golden hue. Add onions and bacon and saute until bacon has rendered most of its fat. Add other vegetables and saute 2 minutes. Add soup base, sherry, stock and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for at least 20 minutes, or up to 45 minutes.
Add roasted tomatoes. Use a stick blender to puree until smooth. Strain if desired. Add seasonings to taste.
Serve topped with thinly sliced tomatoes and drizzle with chile oil.