In its schizophrenic way, Portland's February weather has turned from typical (gloomy and grey) to balmy (temps in the 60s, clear blue sky) without giving much notice. And since this weather is only predicted to last a day or two more, we're all mourning spring's departure before it's even properly arrived.
Yesterday, I threw seasonality and locavoraciousness and all those good moral qualities to the winds–I simply had to have a taste of spring (or summer, really). This soup, with a ridiculously easy-to-make garlic broth base, was inspired by a recipe in the CIA's One Dish Meals
cookbook (looks like a great one… more recipes coming soon). I didn't puree it quite smooth, though, and I certainly didn't sieve the final soup, so it's rather more rustic & chunky than the original recipe intended. The Mexican-esque seasonings are also my own addition. If I'd had real, true, still-warm-from-the-garden squash and corn, I don't think the soup would have needed them… but sad to say, frozen corn and imported "summer" squash can't necessarily stand on their own.
Easy to make this one vegan (just use olive oil instead of butter, derrr). Would have been lovely with crumbled crisp bacon, avocado cubes and/or crumbled cotija cheese on top. But I had none of those things handy, so we had chicken taquitos alongside instead (thank you, Trader Joe's!).
Yearning-for-Summer Zucchini-Corn Soup
Serves four as a main course or six as a starter/side
6 cups half-strength chicken or vegetable broth
One head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
Four or five stems flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp butter
One medium-to-large onion, diced fairly fine
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
Two large or three med-small zucchini, diced
3 cups frozen corn kernels (or fresh, if you've got 'em, which you don't, 'cause it's February)
In a medium saucepan, combine broth, garlic and parsley. Bring just to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, until broth is infused with flavors, about 20 minutes. Skim foam from top; strain broth; set aside.
In a soup pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring regularly, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, red pepper flakes and salt; cook, stirring constantly, one minute more. Add squash and cook, stirring regularly, until edges of squash are just beginning to brown, about 5 more minutes.
Add corn kernels and reserved broth. Bring to a simmer; simmer about 5 minutes, or until heated through. At this point, if you wish, you can give the soup a good once-over with
an immersion blender to thicken it slightly, or you can mash some of
the zucchini against the bottom of the pot with a potato masher, or you
can just call it good and proceed as is.
Taste and add salt and pepper as you see fit. Serve piping hot.
That's it! Happy (fake) summer!