I think this rich soup is a showstopper. See if conversation doesn’t come to a halt when people taste it at your table. Roasting brings out a striking depth of flavor in the squash, and the combination with apples and onions is irresistible. The Cilantro Walnut Pesto puts it over the top. I dream about this soup. And you will be delighted to find how easy it is to make.
Food as Medicine:
You get all sorts of goodies here: antioxidant carotenes from the squash, omega-3 fatty acids from the walnuts, and plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
1 large winter squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), such as butternut, buttercup, or kabocha, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch pieces.
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tart, firm apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and red chili powder to taste
4-5 cups vegetable stock
Nutrients Per Serving
Saturated Fat 1g
(26% calories from fat)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a large roasting pan, toss the squash, onions, garlic, and apples with the oil to coat. Season well with the salt and chili powder. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until the vegetables are fork-tender and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
Put half the vegetables with 2 cups of the stock in a food processor and purée until smooth. Repeat with the remaining vegetables and broth. Return puréed mixture to the pot. If the soup is too thick, add more broth.
Correct the seasoning and heat to a simmer.
Serve in warm bowls with dollops of Cilantro Walnut Pesto.
Courtesy of Dr. Weil.
Mexican Meatball Soup (Sopa de Albóndigas)
I know that beef and chicken are America’s favorite meats — and I like the occasional steak or wing, too — but I think lamb and pork are where it’s at. Especially pastured lamb and pork. My recent one-pound purchase of ground pork from my farmer plus the onslaught of cold weather prompted me to make a meal that satisfied my craving for pork and was perfect for a chilly day: Mexican meatball soup. Pork is, after all, a staple in many parts of Mexico, plus I included red beans and hominy to add more Mexican flair.
Hominy is made from a variant of extra-large corn kernels that have had their tough outer hulls removed by soaking them in lye. A side benefit of the lye-soaking process is that the B vitamins present in the corn (most notably the niacin, or B3) are made more nutritionally available. Settlers in the New World found out the hard way that skipping this “nixtamalization” step was a very bad idea – not making those B vitamins more accessible meant that people who relied on corn as their principle foodstuff suffered from a disease called beriberi. The disorder is primarily caused by a lack of B vitamins.
In the U.S., so many people were dying from the effects of beriberi that the milling industry voluntarily started “enriching” their flours by adding back some of the B vitamins they removed during the milling process. Bet you didn’t think that there was a connection between hominy and the “enriched flour” you see on just about every package in the grocery store! Here’s another hot tip: put back the stuff that says “enriched” and buy whole-grain products instead. They never had their B vitamins stripped to begin with.
Mexican Meatball Soup (Sopa de Albóndigas)
Makes 4 to 6 portions depending how hungry the diners are.
For the meatballs:
1 lb. ground pork, preferably from pastured hogs
1 egg, preferably from pastured hens
1 small onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. Aleppo pepper OR crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup almond flour
For the soup:
2 cups chicken broth, preferably from free-range chickens
28 oz. diced tomatoes
15 oz. small red beans, preferably Eden brand (they use BPA-free cans)
15 oz. hominy, drained (I prefer golden hominy over white hominy — the more color, the more nutrition)
Mix all of the ingredients for the meatballs together in a large bowl with clean hands, then shape into 1″ balls.
If you want perfectly formed meatballs in your final bowl of soup, you’ll need to saute them in a non-stick skillet so that they don’t break up. If you’d prefer to have a richer-tasting soup with a meatier base, saute the meatballs in a big soup pot. (Which will most likely not be non-stick.) A few will tear into smaller pieces, but if you’re generous with your olive oil, you should be okay. And the big advantage here is that the cooked-on bits of meat will give you a delicious base for your soup. Also, you won’t have to clean another skillet.
Either way, saute your meatballs with a generous splash of extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat for about 4 minutes or until they’re browned on the outside and the thickest meatball is opaque when you cut it in half. Remove meatballs to a plate and set aside.
Pour the broth into the soup pot and bring to a simmer over high heat, scraping up the cooked-on bits of meatball to enrich the broth. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, and hominy. (Since Eden uses BPA-free cans and also includes sea salt and a hint of kombu in their canned bean products, I add the entire can, liquid and all. If you’re using a non-Eden can of beans, drain and rinse them.) As soon as the soup begins to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Gently stir in meatballs during the final minute of cooking and serve immediately.
Leftover soup can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. It also freezes well, so you might want to freeze half of the recipe for future lunches and dinners. Feel free to garnish the soup with additional oregano when serving.
Courtesy of The Cultured Cook.