Fall and winter are nearly upon us in Berkeley. That means that it gets darker earlier, that it’s about 5 degrees cooler outside, and the fog descends in the morning and doesn’t burn off until lunch. While Berkeley fall and winter can hardly compete with Boston’s cool crisp days turning to cold snowy days, it still feels like soup weather. Somehow, I just seem to know that it’s time to pack away the shorts and tank tops and pull out the sweaters and boots, even if the weather would still be considered warm if we were back in Boston.
Along with sweaters and boots, this time of year has me craving soup. After all, when you have a perfect grilled cheese sandwich, it’s nice to have some soup to go along with it! This is more of a formula than a recipe. I begin with onions, add whatever vegetables I have in the fridge, and end by blending it all together.
I always start by caramelizing one large onion in some olive oil. As it cooks down, I decide if I’m feeling garlic or ginger. I usually use one of these two as the dominant flavor in the soup. After the onions are starting to get golden brown, I’ll add in the chopped garlic or ginger, and let that cook for another 5 minutes or so.
At that point, I pour a bunch of vegetable broth into the pot, and add in whatever vegetables I have in the fridge. The gorgeously green soup above is a riff on this green ginger soup, with leeks, sweet potatoes, and tons of spinach and chard. I make it any time I feel a cold coming on, or if I just feel like the day calls for some extra vitamins.
This orange soup below came into being from the half a butternut squash I had left after making these butternut squash and goat cheese tarts. I cooked the cubed squash until the pieces were soft, and then I stirred in the half can of pumpkin I had leftover from making this pumpkin walnut spice bread.
When all the veggies are cooked, just pour the soup into your blender, and blend until creamy. Season however you like. Some hot sauce found it’s way into the pumpkin soup.
I like blended soups because you get all the flavors in each spoonful. Sometimes it’s nice to have the texture of a chunkier soup, getting greens in one bite and maybe some pasta in another. But there’s something comfortably predictable about these blended soups. You know each bite is going to taste just as good as the last.