Dutch delight: zucchini soup

Rain or shine, I consider myself to be something of a soup enthusiast – spicy noodle, egg-drop, butternut squash, lentil, and carrot-ginger are just a few of the soups I make on a regular basis. That’s what leads me to believe that courgette soep, or zucchini soup for us anglophones/North Americans, is a typical Dutch delight of a dish. (Yes, I did that!) How else would I never have heard of it?!

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I woke up this morning with a feeling of purpose. I was going to take out the recycling, clean the kitchen, get through the pile of doom books I need to read by the end of the week, get in a ‘work out,’ and send some postcards.

I somehow ended up experimenting with food photography and making/devouring this delicious soup instead.

My first encounter with this green goodness was this summer, on the terrace at Humphrey’s in Groningen. The whole meal was incredible, but the soup made a particularly lasting impression. It was too long ago to remember for sure, but knowing myself I had probably recreated the dish within a week of my discovery. Since then, it’s become a staple in my fridge, and I think it’s about time I shared the love – or at least try to in a virtual way.

(Now, please read the rest of this post in your very best cooking show host voice.)

Not only is courgette soep hearty and richly textured, but it’s also good for you and, as a bonus, it’s super easy to make. Every time I’ve had it, the quantities I’ve used have been different, and every time it’s been delicious. Not to brag or anything.

To make enough to feed a small army (or your hungry self throughout the week), you will need:
1 yellow onion
6 cups zucchini, diced (roughly two zucchini)
3 cups potatoes, diced
glug of olive oil (or butter)
2-3 cloves garlic
1.5 liters veggie broth (I shamelessly use bouillon cubes)
salt & pepper to taste
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Additionally, I highly recommend:
fresh basil and
crème fraîche, for garnish

This is so easy it hardly requires a recipe – all you really need to do is put everything in a pot, let it simmer, and then blend. But just for kicks (and to further procrastinate), I’ll walk you through it.

One thing I will explicitly elaborate on is seasoning. Ever since I first discovered the Food Network at the tender age of 14 and subsequently caught every single episode of Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals – at least twice – I have abided by one simple rule: season every layer. In my case, this means salt, pepper and cayenne. Is this good for my sodium intake? No. Is it delicious? Yes.

Now that that’s out in the open, we can get started! Soften up your diced onion in some oil in a big pan over a medium heat.

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(Note the first layer of seasoning!)

While that’s working, slice up your zucchini and, once the onion has become more or less translucent, toss it into the pan.

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Leave the onion and zucchini to cook down while you dice your potatoes. Regardless of the exact amount of soup you’re making, one basic reference point to keep in mind is the 2:1 zucchini to potato ratio. In my experience, this ratio gives you the perfect texture – creamy but not quite as thick as a purée.

Now go ahead and coarsely chop your garlic – don’t worry too much about the size of the chunks, as it will be pulverized in a moment anyway!

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Once your zucchini has started to loose some of its liquid and you’ve got a bit of a broth at the bottom of your pan, add your potatoes, your garlic and your broth (at least enough to submerge everything), cover, and that’s it!

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Leave everything to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until you can stick easily stick a fork into your potato slices. Then it’s time to blend.

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The soup is magnificent as is but, if you’re looking for something a bit more decadent, try adding a dollop of crème fraîche and some roughly chopped basil.

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Stir everything in, sit back, and enjoy this divine creation! It’s so virtuous you could practically put it on your to-do list …

Note:
Shortly after I made this particular pot of soup, I got offered my first non-retail, non-service industry job! If that doesn’t convince you of its magical properties, I don’t think anything will.

8 thoughts on “Dutch delight: zucchini soup

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