Orange Soup Recipe
by Ellis Anderson
While our trees on the coast may not be ablaze in color, our farmer’s markets in fall certainly are. It’s the orange time of year, when sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squashes and carrots beckon our taste buds.
The health benefits of “the oranges” can leave you feeling righteous as well as full. Carotenoids is the substance that gives these vegetables their yellow/orange coloring. Studies show that carotenoids are great for your eyes (see, your mama was right!) and are super anti-oxidants, which means you’re getting protection from all sorts of different diseases. Since studies also suggest that it’s not a good idea to take carotenoid supplements – it's best to ingest them through food sources.
Nippy weather has reignited local soup cravings, which is handy since "the oranges" are tailor made for the tureen. Recently, my friend LiLi Murphy served me a fantastic - and very different tasting – pumpkin soup recently. It’s a Rachel Ray recipe she’s used often and she reports that the dish is always a great hit with guests. It’s served with an interesting cranberry/raw onion relish that sounds bizarre, but works with the richness of the soup. You can find the recipe here.
A simpler recipe that’s been developed in the Anderson-Jaubert kitchen is one we simply call “Orange Soup,” although there’s not a bit of citrus in it. Roasted vegetables get pureed and simmered with chicken, mushrooms and other veggies. Cayenne and roasted chile peppers give the soup a light bite. It tastes rich without any cream, so it’s easy on the waistline too!
Orange Vegetable Soup
1 large Butternut squash
4 md/lrg sweet potatoes
1 lb. organic carrots, peeled
1 lb. boneless chicken thighs*
1 T. concentrated chicken bouillon**
¼ cup butter
1 large onion, diced
1 head of garlic, peeled and diced
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 T real maple syrup
1 can roasted green chilies
cayenne, salt, black pepper to taste
roasted pumpkin seeds as garnish
*we use a brand available locally, "Havestland" - according to the packaging, no antibiotics, steroids or hormones and raised cage-free.
**"Better than Bouillon" is the brand we use, it comes in a jar that must be refrigerated after opening.
Bake squash and potatoes (oil skins of sweet potatoes, squash can be baked whole with piercing). 350 degrees for about 1.5 hours. Carrots go in last 30 minutes. Time may vary based on your oven, but all vegetables should be tender. After cooling, puree in batches in food processor.
Meanwhile, poach four large organic chicken thighs in chicken bullion (“Better Than Bullion is a great brand and very economical). Remove when cooked. In large frying pan, sauté onion in 2 T butter and then mushrooms in 2 T butter with garlic. Add to soup water. Dice chicken and add. Stir in pureed vegetables. Add salt, pepper (fresh ground if possible) and cayenne to taste. Careful with the cayenne! It's easy to add too much, but it really makes this soup sing! The pumpkin seeds as a garnish add a good crunch, in addition to working in more orange vegetable matter.
8 or more meal-sized servings