It’s time to celebrate the autumn harvest in all its glory, so I developed these recipes for a recent meal at The Table, the community kitchen where I am a volunteer chef. This is autumn cooking at its finest, full of nutritious, healthy vegetables, with a knotty garlic bread loaded with garlic. (If garlic isn’t your thing, go directly to the soup recipe, where you will be rewarded with a hearty lunch or dinner meal.)
The beauty of this soup is it makes use of whatever vegetables you have on hand, is completely vegetarian (unless you want to add chicken or beef), and cooks up quickly. This is a crowd-sized recipe, and I have already cut the recipe in half for you. If you’re feeding two armies, by all means double it. Ditto for the garlic bread: I made four loaves originally, but I will leave it up to your discretion (and how much garlic bread you like).
Feel free to use other veggies than the ones I did. The garlic bread makes use of loads of butter, garlic, with some parsley for color, and can heat in the oven while the soup is finishing up.
• 8 lbs fresh tomatoes, chopped
• 4 peppers, preferably in several colors, cut in chunks
• 2 large chopped onions
• 4 cups chopped flat Italian beans, in 1-inch chunks
• 4 cups cubed butternut squash
• 6 large carrots, sliced into ¼-inch diagonals
• 3-4 finely minced jalapenos, or to taste
• 2 cans red kidney beans
• 1 can black beans
• 2 cans bean mélange or mix
• ¼ c. chopped fresh basil
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
• 1 tbsp salt
1. In a large stockpot, put the tomatoes, peppers, onions, squash, carrots, jalapenos, beans, herbs and salt in. Cover with water, and bring to a boil.
2. Simmer until tomatoes are very soft (and release their juice) and squash is tender. This doesn’t take all that long, about 20 minutes. Test frequently so things don’t get overcooked.
3. Taste for the salt, and see if you want more.
• 2 good quality baguettes or Italian loaves, split
• 1 lb butter
• ¼ to ½ cup garlic puree, or 4-6 tbsp finely minced garlic
• ¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1. Melt butter in saucepan, and add pureed garlic or minced garlic. Let heat on very low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, to infuse the garlic flavor into the butter (I did this just on a pilot light of the gas stove).
2. Add parsley, and stir.
3. On sheets of foil, place the loaves of bread, and ladle garlic butter onto the cut sides.
4. Fold back together, seal inside foil, and place in a slow oven, about 300, for 15 minutes.
5. Slice and serve. That’s it.
Notes: The Table Community Food Centre. www.TheTableCFC.org. Last accessed October 7, 2015.
You can sign up for classes or follow the further adventures of Sue Van Slooten at: www.SVanSlooten.com.
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