Creamy Zucchini/Courgette Soup [Recipe]
On my recent trip home I got to catch up with some old friends, but I also got to meet new people. I love meeting new people, especially in rural Ireland where they seem so characterful, so full of laughter and stories. Meeting new people invariable results in being asked two questions – where do you come from and what do you do. These seemingly innocuous questions always fill me with dread – because I don’t have a straightforward answer to either of them.
An answer to these two simple questions is pretty much all an Irish person needs to define you. Ireland is a relatively small country with just 32 counties. What county you’re from is very important in Ireland, particularly in September, when the national finals of our two inter-county sports (Gaelic football and hurling) are held.
I was born in Dublin, but moved to Wexford when I was six. I lived in Wexford until I finished school, after which I moved back to Dublin for college. Except for short stints in Mayo, Texas and Drogheda, I pretty much stayed in Dublin until I left Ireland in 2013. So that’s 10 very formative years in Wexford but 28 years in Dublin. When people ask you where you’re from they expect a one or two word answer, not a history lesson. But which am I from? Am I from Dublin, who had won the All-Ireland Football Championship the day before but whom rural people often view as being a bit high and mighty? Or am I from Wexford, where my dad still lives in our family home, but who haven’t won an All-Ireland title since 1996?
Then there’s the “what do you do?” question. You can tell by the look in a person’s eyes whether or not they’re ready for the full “My Food Odyssey” story or just want a short answer. There again, I’m stumped. I don’t have a job in the classic sense. In America I might be called a homesteader, but that term has no traction whatsoever in Ireland. So what am I? Depending on who was asking (or the impression I wanted to make!) I toggled between writer and farmer. I guess I’m both, really, but that’s just way too complicated.
So what the heck does all this have to do with soup? One of the downsides of being a farmer is that you’re fairly restricted in what holiday time you can take. I took two weeks off in June, right at the start of the growing season, and scrambled for weeks to catch up when I got home. For my autumn break I was more prepared. I waited until as close to the end of the season as possible, harvesting most of my vegetables before leaving. I left only onions, brassicas and courgettes / zucchini growing while I was away. Onions and brassicas are slow growers and seemed unchanged when I returned. The zucchini, on the other hand, were enormous! The little tiny fingers I had left on the plants when I went away were now bigger than my arm. Altogether I had over 10 kg (20 lbs) of zucchini to deal with. As I already had a shelf of zucchini pickle and a freezer of zucchini muffins, I did the only other thing I could think of – I made soup.
This is one of the easiest soups I have ever made. It has no peeling and very little chopping. It uses water and not stock so as not to overpower the delicate flavour of the zucchini. The resultant soup, however, is thick, creamy and luxurious. You would never guess it has just 5 ingredients and absolutely no dairy products. And best of all it uses those overgrown zucchini you discover hidden under a leaf, having been neglected for several weeks. Just be sure to remove the spongy, seedy core and only use the firm flesh around the sides. You can, of course, use young courgettes from the supermarket or farmers’ market, in which case you probably won’t have a spongy core, making your chopping job even easier.
Creamy Courgette / Zucchini Soup
2 Tbsp sunflower or rapeseed (canola) oil
1 kg | 2 lbs zucchini, outer flesh only*, roughly chopped
½ tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
500 mls | 1 pint water
*Weigh the zucchini after removing any spongy core.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
- Add the zucchini pieces and stir to thoroughly coat the zucchini in the oil.
- Cover the saucepan with a lid and leave the zucchini to “sweat” for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
- Take the saucepan off the heat and add the salt and garlic powder. Stir well to mix the seasoning through the zucchini.
- Add the water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Blend the soup in the saucepan using a stick blender. Alternatively you can blend the soup in small batches in a food processor or liquidiser. Note that hot soup expands when blended, so ensure to cool the soup before blending and blend small quantities at a time to avoid scalding.
- The soup is ready when it is completely smooth and creamy, with no lumps of zucchini remaining.
- Cover the pot with a lid and reheat gently until just boiling. Serve with a side of crusty bread or a melty cheese toasty.
NB: Note that this soup is very thick and prone to volcanic eruptions when heated. To avoid any risk of scalding, please ensure the saucepan is covered with a lid when reheating.
More Soup Recipes
CREAMY BROCCOLI & CHEDDAR SOUP:
This nutritious and filling soup is wonderfully creamy and has a rich flavour from the sharp cheddar cheese. Perfect on its own as a lunch or as a hearty appetizer. (View recipe)
QUICK & EASY TOMATO LENTIL SOUP:
This quick & easy soup requires no peeling or chopping whatsoever. It is warming and nourishing – perfect for cold winter days. (View recipe)
PUMPKIN & PEANUT BUTTER SOUP:
The addition of peanut butter (homemade, of course – see my recipe here) makes this a creamy, silky soup, perfect for cold evenings. Delicious with a slice of soda bread – see above. (View recipe)