Fall is finally in the air, there's a little bite to the air in the mornings and evenings and that's just the way I like it. Even though sweet, crunchy apples and buttery, rich squashes are popping up in the farmer's markets around here, there are still plenty of late season zucchini and tomatoes to be enjoyed before they disappear. I wanted to take advantage of the last of the summer veggies in a hearty soup to celebrate the turning of the cooler season. I used this recipe and it did not disappoint, even my tomato and zucchini adverse husband liked it.
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
4 cups zucchini (I used three zucchinis)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
3 Tbsp of thyme, removed from stems
2 bay leaves
salt and red pepper flakes (to taste)
4 cups (2 28 oz. cans) of crushed tomatoes, similarly you could use 4-5 ripe, chopped tomatoes
2 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of water
2 cups of whole milk
1) Heat a large soup pot with the olive oil over medium heat. Add in diced celery, carrots, zucchini and onion. Saute until tender and translucent, about 11-12 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook down for one more minute.
2) Stir in thyme, bay leaves, salt and red pepper flakes.
3) Add in the tomatoes, chicken broth and water and stir to incorporate. Bring the soup to a simmer and then leave uncovered and cook down for 30 minutes. Taste and add your salt if you need to.
4) Remove soup from the heat and cool slightly. Then blend in batches in a blender until your desired texture.
5) Pour back into the soup pot and stir in the milk. Note: the soup tastes delicious on its own so if you are a vegan, just omit the milk and enjoy as is.
This soup is really quick to make but tastes like it has been slowly cooking all day. It's chock full of summer goodness but in a hearty fall form. I enjoyed mine with an arugula salad or chunk of chewy bread. If you have picky eaters, this soup is a very sneaky way to get kids (or husbands) to eat their vegetables, it would accompany a grilled cheese beautifully.