end of summer zucchini-basil soup

Indian summer having failed to arrive (I want my global warming!), it’s time to get the comforter back on the bed and the soup supply cranking up. But since this is still just the cusp of autumn, there are still summer vegetables to be found at summer prices. And with my basil plant still enjoying the light on the back porch, this recipe became very easy for a weeknight.

I’m not going to bother trying to use the weeknight dinner thing as an excuse why I did not julienne and par-boil zucchini skin for garnish. (Although I might use it for why there’s an errant bit of cucumber floating on top in the picture.) Nor will I warn that I futzed with the recipe. A lot.

Zucchini-Basil Soup

3 medium-sized zucchini (or more), cut small
1 medium-sized onion (or large), cut small
1 potato (I think I have russets. Or Idahos. But use whatever you’ve got.), cut very small
1-2 tb butter (I like butter better than olive oil, but use either one)
2 cloves garlic, minced (pressed, if you must)
3 cups broth (or water or stock)
1/3 cup basil, cut up just enough to not trip up the blender (no pesto, please)
salt & pepper

Dad saw the recipe and left a note saying to add fennel next time and it’s a worthwhile suggestion; I didn’t think the soup was lacking, but I also didn’t have any fennel lying around.

Start off with heating up the butter (or oil) in your soup pot of choice (my Le Creuset is a little smaller than my other big pot, but I like to use it if there’s browning involved, which is why I wish it were a quart or so larger) and throw in the onion and garlic, letting the former get soft and translucent and taking care not to burn the latter.

Once the onion is pretty much there and before the garlic gets too toasted, toss in the potato. You’re not going to cook the potato here, but it won’t hurt to get it started. You do want it small enough that it will cook in a reasonable time as the soup simmers, so let it get a little cooked (and buttered) now. If you’re clever, you’ll add a little bit of salt now. Not a lot. A little.

Toss in the zucchini and saute a little. Again, you’re not cooking it here, just getting it started.

Add the stock/broth/water (I used water + low sodium bullion). Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and let it go for about 15 minutes.

After that time, the zucchini should be tender and the potato should be cooked.

When you have hit that point, add the basil, turn off the the burner, and get out your blendering equipment.

And this is where I wax poetic about my immersion blender. I love my regular blender, even though it sounds like an F-18, but I do not love it (or any other regular blender) for soup. The mess transferring it to and from the blender, needing a second pot for the results, the inevitable explosion/burned hand/soggy potholder from overloading the blender, and so forth and so on. An immersion blender goes vroom-vroom-vroom and your soup is pureed (there might be an extra vroom for really chunky soups). No extra pot, no mess, no fuss.

I will admit that I added a splash of cream — it really was just a splash, maybe 1/8th cup if that — because I like the effect. But it’s optional and the soup was quite good without. To make this vegan, you can skip the milk and use olive oil instead of butter, use water or veggie broth/stock, and you’ll be good to go.

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