It's Sunita here.
I find Fall to be more of a pause than a transition. It signals 'gather and stop for a moment' to me. As the days become shorter, and the evenings become pronounced, my mind relaxes and I feel like I am in a throwback to the good old days. Time slows down for me and I relish the evenings as opportunities to think, plan and spend more time in my kitchen. And make soup.
Soup in Fall is different from any other time in the year. Autumn soups are rich, earthy, thick, full of flavor, and an occasion to use warm spices. I love to see pumpkins, gourds, parsnips, butternut squash, carrots, beets and all the glorious root vegetables of the season make their appearance in the produce section of my grocery store. There is something so reassuring and comforting about them.
Today, I share the basic recipe for our family's Fall Soup. It serves as a Warm Hug and when we all sit down together to enjoy it. And that is a pure Heart Bliss.
You can substitute your favorite vegetables for what I've used and it will still be delicious. This recipe does not need 'exact and precise' measurements so play with what I have given you to make your soup reflect your taste.
I start by roasting the whole vegetables in an oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. (Root vegetables are very tough to cut when uncooked and can pose a risk for injuring yourself with your knife.)
I then cut the softened vegetables on a wooden board. Large chunks will do.
I sprinkle 1/4 cup of good quality Olive Oil over them and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
I return them to the oven to roast for another 15-30 minutes, depending on how much time I have that day.
Once the onions have become translucent, add all your roasted vegetables to the onions and let them cook together for 5 minutes. Add the dry or fresh herbs that you enjoy.
Remember, this is a soup that should 'feel' good to you so go along with what your family tastes are. I added parsley only.
Don't forget to stop to inhale the amazing aromas that are being released by fall's bounty in your kitchen.
I've been known to call (they tell me I'm "screaming") my kids into the kitchen, just to stand over the pot, close their eyes and smell the soothing whiffs of these gifts of the earth. It's soothing, and connects us to Pachamama and her generosity to us.
Now it's time to add a liquid to your soup makings. I added 4 cups of vegetable broth and 4 cups of 1% low fat milk. You can substitute with water, chicken broth, soy milk, almond milk, regular milk or any other type of broth.Remember, this is your warm hug so you get to choose the flavors and the base of your hug.
I used a pressure cooker at medium heat for 30 minutes to cook the vegetables and liquid together. After turning off the heat, I left the pot on the warm burner and did a few other tasks in the kitchen. That allowed the pressure in the pot to dissipate while the vegetables continued to cook.
Carefully and with a focus on safety, I disengaged the pressure cooker, only after verifying that all the steam had dissipated. I use a KitchenAid Hand Soup Blender to blend the vegetables. My soup is usually thick but this is a good time to add more liquid and adjust the blended mix consistency to your taste. Add more seasoning, salt and pepper if need be.
Serve with warm bread and butter. Or do what I did. Serve with croutons.
Here's how I make croutons at home.
Take whatever bread you enjoy. I had leftovers of a Sourdough- Rosemary loaf and a French Baguette from Whole Foods at home. Cube it and toss it in a large bowl- this is important because you want the bread to soak up the following. For 8 cups of bread cubes, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp paprika and 1 tsp dried parsley flakes. Add 3 cloves of crushed fresh garlic. Toss together like you are mixing a salad. Place the unbaked croutons in a single layer on a oven proof baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. They taste delicious, even at this stage, and I can never resist popping a few of them in my mouth as I slide the baking sheet into the oven. Keep them in for 10 minuets at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then take the sheet out and flip them over for another 8 minutes in the oven. I use a broad rubber spatula to flip them and am never very exact about it. If a few don't turn over, don't fret, they will still taste incredible! Use oven mitts whenever handling hot dishes and working with an oven.
You can make the meal an occasion for remembrance by using special china. I happened to use the teacups that we received from Nathalie on the occasion of her wedding to my nephew Neville. It reminded us all of the caring details they put into designing our experience at their wedding in Scrub Island. It was an amazing one. We were flooded with the love we felt there, and the memories of wonderful time we spent with them and my family. It added an extra dimension to our warm hug that night as we enjoyed our Fall soup and reminisced.
I hope you experience Fall in the most wonderful way and have simple family rituals that bring you together and give you Heart Bliss!
Until next time, Be well, Do well Live well