My regular readers may have seen my recent pictures on facebook of my baseball bat sized Zucchini that I picked yesterday from my backyard veggie patch. Despite being so big, the zucchini were quite tender and not in the least seedy inside. Fresh Zucchini is an excellent source of antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C and with all the effort that had gone into growing it, I wasn’t about to let any of it go to waste. With this bumper crop, I immediately set about thinking ways to use it all without having to listen to my family’s groans and moans about being zucchini yet another time! In recent weeks, I have grilled the squash, stir-fried it, fried it into fritters and even added some to my Bolognese sauce but today I decided to make some soup with it. The thing with zucchini is that it is like a blank canvas – it doesn’t have much flavor of its own and so it absorbs the flavors of the other ingredients that I add to it. I added a few strong flavored ingredients – garlic, celery, basil and bacon and the combination of all these made the soup really flavorful and delicious.
1. 2 lbs of fresh zucchini/courgette
2. One large red onion
3. 4-5 cloves of fresh garlic
4. 3-4 stalks of celery
5. Salt and pepper to taste
6. A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional but I like everything spicy)
7. 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
8. 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
9. 6-8 slices of bacon
10. A handful of fresh basil leaves
11. 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
12. 1.5 cups of chicken stock
5. When the butter melts, add the onions and stir everything. Let the onions cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat, while stirring frequently.
6. Add the chopped garlic and stir.
7. Add the chopped celery and stir.
8. While the onion, garlic and celery are getting cooked, chop the zucchini in bite sized chunks.
9. When the onion pieces look a little translucent, add the chunks of zucchini to the pot and stir.
10. Let the zucchini get coated with the butter and oil in the pot and cook for 5-7 minutes on low heat while stir periodically.
11. While the vegetables are cooking, chop the bacon slices in small bite sized pieces.
13. While the bacon is rendering its fat out and getting crisp, add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to the vegetable pot and stir. If you don’t want the soup to be spicy, omit the red pepper flakes.
16. Chop the basil leaves coarsely and add them to the vegetable pot. Avoid cooking the asil leaves or they lose their flavor.
17. Place the vegetables in a blender and blend them to make a creamy soup.
18. Pour the soup into the pot again and heat on very low heat for a minute or so. Add the heavy cream and turn the heat off. Check the soup for salt and pepper and adjust according to your preference.
19. I added a couple of teaspoons of bacon fat to the soup so that the bacon flavor gets evenly spread into the soup but if you are watching your fat intake, you can omit this step.
20. Stir the soup thoroughly and serve it piping hot with a crusty piece of bread and the crispy bacon pieces sprinkled in top of the soup. Enjoy!