Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn: Soup

A couple of weeks ago, Jeff and I spent some time in Spartanburg, South Carolina with family. We had an amazing time drinking, laughing, and cleaning out the pool. But what blew me away was the scenery. In Texas, you don’t see leaves change color much. The seasons go from summer to slightly chilly, overnight with very little grace. The trees are leafy and green and then dead. But in South Carolina, the trees were just turning brown and golden.

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One of our favorite places in the city is Croft National Park. It’s such a small town that it doesn’t take long to find some seclusion and one of the most gorgeous lakes I’ve ever seen.

Last year, Jeff and I hired a boat and we floated on gentle ripples in Lake Craig soaking in the last of the American sun before moving to London.

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And now we were back taking in the sights and thinking back to everything we have done since we were last here. But the change in season really made me home sick for a warm and cozy meal that can only be appreciated through soup.

Back at home, I was rummaging through my freezer and came upon a bag of frozen peas. Garden peas are usually a summer vegetable blended into some really spectacular cold and warm soups. But before I just blitzed it into any old soup, I wanted to make something that showcased the summer months just as our English trees were matching the leaves of South Carolina.

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With our radiators on and the “jumpers” dusted off, I found a lovely recipe that was adapted from Pride and Prejudice (nothing more British than that) to give summer the proper send off it deserves.

To counter-act and embrace our cooler weather, I thought it would be nice to make a wintery squash soup as well. We have a CSA organic food box delivered every week from Abel and Cole, and this week was chock full of gorgeous root vegetables begging to be blended into a hearty soup.

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Below you’ll find my summer-y garden pea soup with fresh mint, but you’ll also find my warm and comfy root vegetable soup. I encourage you to take the last of your summer crop and give this a try before you settle in for the cozy winter in front of us.

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Summer Gone By Garden Pea Soup
adapted from Brain Pickings and Pride and Prejudice
makes 5-6 servings

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
100g celery
100g carrot
35g leeks
35g onion
90g broccoli
500g frozen peas
1 handful of fresh mint
3 cups of chicken stock

1) In a large skillet, heat the oil. Dice up the celery, carrots, onion, and leeks (mirepoix) and pour into the skillet. Saute for about 10 minutes until the veggies are tender and the onions are translucent.
2) Add the garlic. Any earlier, and the buds could burn making for an acrid taste.
3) Chop up and toss in your broccoli, stem and all. Sautee for about five minutes before adding the frozen peas. This will cool down all of the veggies, so you want to make sure they cook before you add them.
4) Pour in the chicken (or vegetable stock) and add the chopped mint. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Just make sure the peas are warmed through. There is nothing worse than a lukewarm soup.
5) When everything is cooked, pour into a food processor, food mill, or blender and blitz completely.
6) Serve with a little creme fraiche or alone. Enjoy.

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Autumn is Here Squash Soup
makes 6-7 servings

2 tbsp olive oil
50g onion
100g carrots
100g celery
100g parsnip
2 cloves of garlic, minced
300g squash
500 ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large skillet. Add the mirepoix (onion, carrots, celery) and parsnips. Sautee for about 10 minutes until onions and celery are translucent.
2) Add the garlic, herbs and squash to the skillet. Adding the garlic later will keep it from burning.
3) Cover the vegetables with the chicken stock and cover the pan for about 30 minutes; until the veggies are fork tender.
4) Uncover and let cool for about 10 minutes and then add to a food processor or blender. Blitz until combined.
5) Serve with bacon, pumpkin seeds, creme fraiche, etc. or by itself as a delicious side.

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What are your favorite seasonal soups? What do you make when the leaves turn? 


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