Soup for Change

Oct 12, 2011 | 07:28am  

Yesterday I was picking cherry tomatoes, the ultimate act of summer, from a seemingly endless plant, and contemplating their destiny – sauce, salsa, salad, all three? However, the light in the afternoon was flickering fall so I should have known that a cool rain was coming. I try to not pay attention to weather forecasts because it’s important to have some unknowns and surprises in these days of information overload. It forces me to pay attention to light, the quality of the air, and the shades of white to grey in the clouds.

Today the rains have arrived, and there is the fall chill in the air. Soup is simmering on the stove to save the day and warm the house. I call this soup Holy Trinity Soup, not for any religious reasons, but because of the love affair between butternut squash, kale and white beans. They are all transcendent on their own, but together are otherworldly delicious. This is a soup to sustain the literal and metaphorical change of seasons. If I were in New York, on Wall Street with the protesters this autumn, this is the soup that I would serve.

Holy Trinity Soup

Ingredients and Notes:
Olive oil – enough coat the bottom of your soup pot

1 medium yellow onion – finely chopped

2 or 3 carrots – diced, if you do a perfect dice, you are doing too much, breathe and relax.

2 or 3 stalks of celery – diced, if you are like me and often don’t have celery, well then leave it out like I often do.

6 sprigs of thyme – I love the word sprig. It’s like spring without the “n.” You could also add other herbs like rosemary, savory or even a bay leaf.

Butternut squash – if you have a large one, peel and dice half of it, if you have a small one use the whole thing. Use your head to determine if your squash is big or small.

6 to 8 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock – of course, you should make your own and it will definitely be more delicious that way, but sometimes the rain comes a day sooner than you had anticipated.

1 bunch of kale – de-stemmed and cut or torn into small pieces, any type of kale will do and of course cousin collards would always be welcome.

2 cups cooked white beans – now I say cooked rather than canned because, again, of course, it is better if you have some beautiful leftover beans that you cooked yourself on hand, but I’m a realist at heart so use a can of good quality beans if you must, but rinse the gunk off of them. Your stomach and your family will thank you.

1 to 2 cups of cooked wild rice – you can also use a wild rice blend because at my local market plain wild rice would sink the hyper-local economy in my wallet.

salt and pepper to taste – taste! Always taste and adjust your food, your music, your thoughts, your art, your life…

To cook the soup, heat your pot, add the oil, and then add the onions, carrots, celery and thyme. Sauté for 5 minutes or so, until they are glistening and making your kitchen smell good. Add the butternut squash and stock. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the butternut squash is on it’s way to soft. Add the kale, white beans and wild rice and simmer until the greens are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve to your family, friends and a stranger, if you can.

Sweeeeeeeeeeet! Not just because this recipe yields the most fantastic fall soup, but mostly because it’s beautifully simple, delightfully witty, seriously soulful. Makes me long for a book about food and cooking and “folks”…

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