While in one of my pinning frenzies, I came across this recipe for (Olive Garden copycat) Zuppa Toscana in a crock pot. It looked darned good to me, and also like something that I could double without much effort, AND freeze successfully. I wasn’t 100% sure about freezing it because of the potatoes (which sometimes freeze weirdly) and cream, so I had to test it out before I could recommend it.
I made some changes to the recipe, enjoyed a bowl of soup that night (my toddler loved it and asked for several bowls, and my baby boy slurped down several of the potatoes, quite a bit of sausage, and some kale), and then froze the rest. I ended up with 3 quarts in the freezer – 2 in freezer jars, and one in a freezer bag (lay flat to freeze, then you can move it wherever it fits best in your freezer). I don’t see the exact jars I used but they’re similar to these.
I also froze a bowl of soup in my small freezer, just overnight, to try the next day and see if the potatoes and cream got weird or not.
And the next day? Success! The texture of the potatoes was a little bit different, but not off-putting, and the flavor was good. Everything was as delicious as the first night, and I was excited to have 3 more quarts of this soup in my deep freezer for later.
Now that I seem to have my mind back (maybe it was the massage I got today!), I can write this up for you. It’s very tasty, and makes a LOT of soup. We froze about half of it. I think it makes 8-10 servings.
I threw this together out of my own head, but a special thanks goes to reader Caroline Cox for sending me a recipe that included toasted walnuts! I hadn’t thought of that, and they are fantastic with the squash.
Most butternut squash soup recipes will have you peel and cube the squash while it’s raw, then boil the pieces. Mine roasts the squash instead, which means you won’t have to deal with cutting it (other than in half) while it’s hard as a rock. Nice, right?
Butternut Squash Apple Walnut Soup
Sometime before you want to make the soup, roast:
one butternut squash (2-3 pounds)
Cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and “strings”, and place cut-side-down in a glass baking dish on top of a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for an hour to an hour and a half, or until the peel looks wrinkly and the flesh is soft. Then you can peel it super-easily.
(Left-handed videoing while right-handed peeling in lowish light doesn’t make for a great video, but here it is.)
butter (1/2 stick)
2 chopped onions
2-3 chopped carrots
2-3 chopped apples
1/2 cup walnuts
salt, pepper, nutmeg
Cook until carrots and apples are soft, onions translucent, and walnuts are toasted. Then, add:
cooked butternut squash
1.5 quarts (6 cups) chicken stock
Stir to break up the squash and combine everything, and heat through. Remove from heat. Then, use your immersion blender to blend the soup completely. Splash in
some milk or cream
…until it’s the desired thickness. Then serve.
You can garnish with a dollop of sour cream, a drizzle of heavy cream, toasted chopped walnuts, or very thin cooked apple slices (I cooked them in a pan with butter while my soup was heating through).
For forever, I’ve had the Pioneer Woman’s Cauliflower Soup bookmarked. It just looks amazing, doesn’t it? My friend Meagan has made it and has confirmed its amazingness. But I never made it. Don’t ask me why. And now I wouldn’t want to make it as-is because it has flour in it.
So I made my own inspired-by-Ree Cauliflower Soup. And I’ll be making it again, for sure. It’s GOOD.
Comforting Cauliflower Soup
1/2 stick butter
2 onions, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
celery if you want, but I didn’t have any
2 heads cauliflower, chopped
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup whole milk
the other 1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
Melt half a stick of butter in a big soup pot.
Dump in the onions, and cook them for a while.
Add the carrots and cauliflower. Stir around, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes. You don’t need to add water or anything — there is enough moisture in the pot to steam them; just trust me.
After your veggies are all cooked, dump in enough chicken stock to cover the veggies. For me that was about a quart of good, rich, homemade chicken stock. mmm. Bring to a simmer.
Pour in a cup of milk. I don’t care if you measure. I do care if you use whole milk. It must be whole milk. Fat is good.
Now, because we’re not thickening with flour, here’s what I want you to do. Ladle 1-2 cups of the chunky soup into a separate container, and add the other half stick of butter. Use your immersion blender (click to see the one I use and LOVE) to blend it into a heavenly puree.
Dump the puree back into the pot of soup, and stir to combine.
Pour in a good splash of heavy cream.
Season with garlic salt and black pepper. I’m not usually a pepper girl, but black pepper just BELONGS in this soup. Do it.
To serve, put a dollop of sour cream in each bowl, then ladle soup over it. Extra creaminess, and it helps to cool the soup so you won’t burn your mouth ad haff do dak like dis.
This makes about 6 generous servings. But of course, it’ll depend on how big your cauliflowers were, and how much stock you needed in order to cover them up.
We got leeks last Tuesday in our CSA basket, and I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with them. I know they’re basically like big huge fat green onions, but didn’t really have a plan for them. So I googled around and found things like potato leek soup, cauliflower leek soup, things like that. So I took the idea and ran with it, instead making a creamy delicious “loaded baked potato” leek soup.
We just finished scarfing down our bowls and holy cow… I couldn’t make you wait another day for this recipe. RUN to the store now and get ingredients for this soup if you don’t already have them. Then make the soup. I beg you. You will thank me later.
You will need:
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
2-3 leeks (just the white part and the light green part – toss the tough dark green parts), chopped
Salt and white pepper
2 baking potatoes, diced (about 4 cups total). Leave the peels on, because why not?
about 3 cups of chicken broth
1/3 cup or so of heavy cream
bacon, cooked and crumbled
sour cream (full fat please!)
In your soup pot, melt the butter and throw in the leeks. Cook them until they’re soft, about 10 minutes or so over medium-high heat. Add salt and white pepper.
Then dump in the broth and potato chunks. Actually, dump in the potatoes first, then the broth. That way you won’t splash the broth (just a little) like I did.
Bring to a boil and cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the potato chunks are tender enough to eat nicely. I tasted one and it was perfect.
Turn off your stove’s heat, then use a slotted spoon to remove several spoonsful of potato/leek chunks to a bowl for safekeeping. Using an immersion blender or your regular blender, blend the soup until smooth.
Add the chunks you saved back into the soup, along with the heavy cream. Stir together.
Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and bacon on top. Oh, yum! Thick creamy deliciousness with cheesy drips coming off of your spoon…