Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And so we say goodbye to Halloween...

So long Halloween,
Hello Soup Season!
Well, everyone, Halloween is over, and Salem is again quiet with the sounds of a, well, fully arrived winter. How'd that snow storm feel guys? I guess we've had our one big hit for the winter... doubtful, but I can dream, right? 
Luckily, even after the storm, there are still a few things available at the Dewey Square Farmers Market. There are still plenty of potatoes, and then some beautiful turnips. The beets are still out, and there are some tiny heads of garlic still for the picking. Oh yes, and there are some lovely looking parsnips. How are we faring as far as tomatoes? Well, the beautiful pink, red, and yellow tomatoes are all gone. I was very disappointed. However, in the bin for heirloom tomatoes there are still a whole bunch of these rather firm zebra striped green beauties. I'd never used them before, but upon slicing in and tasting them, they were both sweet and tart, with a surprising fruity, almost citrusy quality. Very interesting variety, and worth purchasing at the tail end of the season. This all has the makings, after the first real freeze of the season, for a homey, golden soup. Why golden? Well, because we're using, except for the vibrant green tomatoes, are things shining of white and gold, kissed yellow with a deep, earthy chicken stock made earlier in the year.
Zebra-striped green tomatoes,
still available, even after the frost
1. So start out by peeling and cubing two turnips, two big parsnips, one large golden beet. Slice a small x on the bottom of each tomato and plop them into a pot of boiling water for a few seconds, then quickly douse with cold water, so that you can peel and chop those. You'll also want to finely dice about three tablespoons of dried chorizo sausage, and two cloves of garlic. Simple prep, warm soup, and here we go.
2. Add about two tablespoons of olive oil to a dutch oven, and set on low heat. When the oil has warmed up, add your garlic and your chorizo sausage. Stir these around and allow to saute until the garlic has softened a bit.
Chorizo, tomatoes, garlic, ready
to add the stock
3. At this point you can add about six cups of chicken stock. Allow the whole pot to simmer on the stove for a while so that the flavor of those tart, sweet, fruity tomatoes can mingle with the stock, and really saturate the flavor of the broth.
4. Now the beets will take the longest to cook, so add your cubed golden beets to the stock, and simmer on low heat for about fifteen minutes. Next, add your parsnips. After about fifteen minutes of these simmering, you can add your turnips. The turnips take about fifteen minutes to grow tender, and this timing seems to work well for the entire soup. All the vegetables will have released their sweetness into the soup, and mingled with the red oil flavored by the chorizo and the slight fruitiness of those green tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste and you're ready to get rid of that "winter rushing in" chill. 
A gold-hued soup to ward off
the chill of winter
I know it's just another veggie rich soup from yours truly. You're probably getting a little bored with my recipe-lacking soups based on simply a well developed stock, and whatever is still available at the farmers market. However, I can't stress enough how this can help you really embrace the cold weather, and warm up your house and maybe your soul a bit in the process. Making and eating a home cooked soup makes everybody feel a little bit more ready for the cold weather. Furthermore, this soup is clean, extra sweet, and delicious. Everything in there seems to glow, and has a wonderful melt in your mouth texture, from the turnips, the anise flavored parsnips, and those gorgeous yellow cubes of beet. Plus, chorizo adds just the right amount of built in seasoning and zing. Good luck, see what's still available in your area, and begin to pursue your own soup recipes. 

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons finely diced chorizo sausage
2 cloves diced garlic
4 green zebra-striped tomatoes
2 purple-topped turnips
1 golden beet
2 parsnips

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