Dilled Zucchini Soup with Chicken Sausage
I know you have zucchini and summer squash. How do I know this? Because it is the middle of July and you’ve probably planted at least 1 (if not 3) zucchini plants and maybe a summer squash and a few patty pans…? You watered these plants…and hoped for the perfect amount of sunshine and warmth. Maybe you were busy for a few days or away for a weekend…and then all of a sudden…unbeknownst to you…your plants have taken over your entire garden…your entire yard…and are pondering what kind of defenses you might have around the house. You’re also concerned you may have been watering the garden with some kind of superfood…as those zucchini that, last time you looked, were cute and just about ready to pick at 6 inches long…they have now swelled to be somewhere between enormous and unreasonably long and are almost the size of your thigh. Don’t worry…this happens every summer. Now you must put these zucchini back in their place…you must use them in all manner and let them know that you’re watching. You’re keeping your eyes on those zucchini…boundaries have been set. It’s time to cook.
Unfortunately we didn’t get any zucchini plants of our own in this year…but I can’t resist buying them at every farmer’s market I visit. Zucchini is summer to me. My dad used to find 18 ways to use up all of our garden zucchini…and I like every one of them. Zucchini bread, zucchini sautéed with herbs, zucchini pancakes, grated zucchini, zucchini fritters…the list goes on…and reminds me I’ve got a lot of cooking to do this summer. We needed to use our zucchini and summer squash and decided on a soup…which I promised Woody would be quick…(it’s never as quick as I say it will be – but don’t tell Woody that).
Start with onions (that’s pretty much a rule…start with onions). Sauté in butter. We had found these amazing tiny little marble sized potatoes that unfortunately were just a bit past their prime needed to be used. (Dear Kitchen, please stop making our potatoes sprout within one day of purchase when we store them in a dark cupboard! – any thoughts/ideas/helpful hints/secret passwords are much appreciated)
We boiled the potatoes for 5 minutes…just so they were par-cooked and wouldn’t have to boil in the soup forever. I threw in some garlic (actually a lot of garlic) and all the sliced and diced zucchini and summer squash we had in the house and some fresh dill. I let these heat through…tossed ’em around a bit, seasoned with salt and pepper and then added some water. I can hear you gasp…”‘water…? why not broth…?” I wanted a cleaner flavor, and broth can sometimes take a very light and pure vegetable flavor and bring it down. Make it feel like a winter soup, heavy and hearty. And water is just one of those ingredients you’ll never run out of.
Once everything was sufficiently simmered…the immersion blender (quite possibly my favorite kitchen appliance) comes out…and…POOF! You made soup. When blending, follow a few simple guidelines. First, remove your pan from the heat. Second, make sure there is enough substance to cover the small holes surrounding the blade protector – otherwise, all the time you saved making soup will be spent wiping down every known surface in a 6 foot radius of your soup pot…pour into a smaller pot if necessary. Third, blend, blend and blend some more…unless you want it chunky – then don’t blend as much. I love soups that are incredibly smooth and if you plan on enjoying this soup cold…a chunky cold soup can seem wrong. Fourth, you may need to thin the mixture to get the consistency right…add slowly…as taking liquid out is impossible at this stage.
Now is the time to taste as well…make sure your seasonings are right. Taste and taste again. I also added a dash of cream…just for mouth feel really. And I can’t resist making pretty designs in the soup.
We happened to have some slightly sweet chicken sausages, so we browned them up, sliced them, laid them in a bowl, poured the soup around and POOF! Dinner. I garnished with a little fresh dill and some finely diced red bell pepper.
Pretty good for not having planned dinner that night. This soup is amazing the next day served cold. I only wish I had had some fresh lump crab meat to pile on or maybe a seared scallop…or even perhaps a ball of fresh mozzarella with a drizzle of olive oil.