a cooling summer courgette soup

a cooling summer courgette soup
A cooling summer soup is a welcome way to use up a summer glut of courgettes. This vegetable's beautiful delicate flavour is perfect in a chilled soup and I thought would be a really good way of cooling down on a baking hot day. I've read somewhere that you can cool yourself down by not just drinking cool drinks but eating cold food. I think this may be right - well it certainly worked for me!

I had intended to thin the soup with a little creamy Greek yogurt, but after tasting it decided to leave my thick and velvety soup as it was - rich and creamy with a hint of green vegetables and herbs and a touch of heat.

You could use chicken stock in this recipe but I preferred using vegetable stock with a splash of white balsamic vinegar for extra zest, which I think helped to bring out the subtle courgette flavour.

This turned out to be a bit of a two-fer recipe, in that I managed to get two quite different meals from it. The next day, I reduced the leftover soup down until it was a thick gloopy sauce and had it with a bit of poached fish and steamed courgettes. It really was rather lovely!

Serves 4
Skill level: Easy

ingredients:
olive oil
1 x English onion, finely chopped
2 x garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1kg courgettes
500ml vegetable stock (or water or chicken stock)
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
2 x sprig of fresh thyme
a pinch of Aleppo pepper (or chilli flakes)
1 x bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Greek yogurt (optional)
sour dough bread, to serve

directions:
  1. Heat about 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy-based sauce pan and add the chopped onions. Add a sprinkling of salt, cover with a lid and gently fry until softened. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Give the courgettes a quick rinse, top and tail them. I cut thick slices away from the central core (so the skin and a little of the flesh) as I don't like the seeds and don't think that huge amounts of the white flesh add much in the way of flavour. However, that is just a personal preference. Roughly chop the courgettes into 1 centimetre chunks.
  3. Add the garlic to the onion and cook for 1 to 2 minutes before adding the courgettes. Stir well to coat with the oily juices. Continue cooking for a few more minutes until the courgettes begin to take on some colour (but not browned).
  4. Add the stock, balsamic vinegar, fresh thyme and Aleppo pepper. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until the courgettes are beginning to soften.
  5. Set aside to cool before liquidising. You may have read my thoughts on this before but essentially do not try to blend when hot, as this can be dangerous, particularly if using a jug blender. A combination of hot soup, a build-up of steam and vibration, can cause the hot liquid to explode out of the blender. Safer to let it cool a little!
  6. Blend the soup until smooth. If you like it even more smooth then you may need to put the soup through a fine sieve.
  7. Check the seasoning and then chill the soup.
  8. Serve with a few thyme leaves sprinkled over and loads of fresh sourdough bread.

tips:
  • Don't overcook the vegetables or the soup for that matter as you will lose its vibrant green colour.
  • This chilled courgette soup was the perfect way to cool down on a hot day, although on a cooler day it would have been rather nice served hot. The choice is yours!
  • I was going to add yoghurt for extra cooling but it turned out the soup didn't need it. However, if you are to add yogurt to soup then be careful as it can split. Using yogurt with a higher fat content makes this less likely as these are more stable. If you are planning on serving the soup warm, bring the yogurt to room temperature before adding, a little at a time. If you are using a low-fat yogurt you can improve its stability by making a paste of ½ tsp cornflour and 1 tsp water. Then stir this into the yogurt before you adding the yogurt to the soup.


3 comments:

Liz Thomas said...

Mmmm! tomorrow's dinner I think. Thanks!
L

Sally Sellwood said...

Given how quickly my courgettes are coming in the garden, I will defintiyl be trying this - I need as many courgette recepes as I can get

Janice Pattie said...

I rarely make chilled soup, never feel like soup in summer unless it's a cool day, then I want warm soup! This looks great though.